The body of a Brandon teacher who was hiking the “Dream Way” was found Saturday, Aug. 25 in a wooded area at the bottom of a ridge near Brauneck Mountain in the Bavarian Alps.
Jeffrey Freiheit, a 32-year-old Brandon School Division physical education teacher, went missing early this month while hiking alone on a 570-kilometer trek to Venice, Italy. On Saturday morning, Freiheit’s mother Kathy Freiheit, another Canadian searcher and a local police officer found his body 60 meters below a ridge containing the trail he was following.
It is suspected that Freiheit died instantly after falling off of the ridge, which is located south of Munich, Germany.
“From what we can tell at this stage, Jeff must have fallen between 50 and 60 meters from the ridgeline and died instantly,” the Youtube channel, Alpine Life, reported on Sunday. The channel hosts a series of vlogs about the Bavarian region and its administrator followed the search closely.
“We strongly believe that Jeff would have suffered no pain and that his death would have been quick.”
Freiheit, a former Brandon University Bobcat basketball player, was an experienced hiker and mountaineer who previously travelled on foot to the base camp of Mount Everest, toured Peru’s Machu Picchu and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He was last seen on Aug. 2 via a post on his Instagram account and did not reach Vorderriss where he had booked his next accommodations.
Freiheit’s wife Selena Freiheit and his mother arrived in Germany on Aug. 19 to help find the missing Brandonite. Selena had last spoken to her husband by FaceTime 18 days before. Upon their arrival, German police along with search and rescue teams in air and on foot were focusing on a treacherous area of the Der Traumpfad Trail, which contains dangerous rock overhangs, deep trenches and steep gulleys. This portion of the trail is located between the municipalities of Jachenau and Vorderiss.
On Aug. 26, CTV Winnipeg reported that his body was found between the spot where he made his final Instagram post and his pre-booked destination.
“It is with overwhelming grief and sadness that I share with you that Jeff was found and is no longer with us,” Freiheit’s wife said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Through a broken heart, I’ve found peace in knowing that he did not suffer. Our family is beyond grateful for the outpouring of support during this sad and difficult time.”