At first, nobody knew who the body belonged to, only that it was that of a young man. He was 5 foot 8 inches tall, and weighed only 67 pounds when he died. He had obviously lain there, on an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness, for days. And although the mystery of the dead hiker’s identity would eventually be solved, he would always remain an enigma.
Christopher Johnson McCandless was born on February 12, 1968, in El Segundo, California. His parents were Walt and Wilhelmina McCandless, and he had a younger sister called Carine. His father also had six other children from a previous marriage, all of whom lived with their mother.
When Chris McCandless was about eight years old, his family moved to Virginia in Washington, DC. His father was employed by NASA while his mother worked at an aerospace and defense company. Later, the pair formed their own profitable business and worked from home. At high school McCandless did well both in academics and sports, making captain of the cross-country team.