In keeping with Godso, Rodriguez didn’t graduate. However folks with laptop expertise normally don’t have a tough time discovering a job. Ultimately, he began work at an ecommerce firm primarily based in Baton Rouge known as Customers Alternative, the place he was acknowledged by many as probably the most gifted engineer on the staff. The corporate’s codebase remains to be stuffed with notations of “VR,” for code that Rodriguez wrote. Marie, who works in IT, instructed me, “He was a loopy good coder. Besides he would all the time code every little thing the toughest means potential, form of such as you employed Rembrandt to color your rest room. You realize it’ll be lit, however excessive.”
He wasn’t significantly collaborative, however he would sit down, placed on his headphones—listening to Temple of the Canine and Rage Towards the Machine—and remedy issues. As the issues obtained extra advanced, he obtained extra snug. He was quiet however not, to his coworkers, perversely so. “When you’re asking me if he’s the man who exhibits up on the celebration in a clown swimsuit blasting issues out of a cannon, that’s not him,” says a former colleague named Corey Tisdale. “However he would go to vacation events and never look depressing.”
He ate as soon as a day, usually pizza from Walmart or lasagna from Pasta Kitchen. He wore black denims, a black shirt, and a black trench coat. He had lengthy, darkish hair virtually right down to his waist. In the future he reduce all of it off and gave it to Locks of Love. He attended Dragon Con. He appeared to undergo from some psychological well being points, however, in response to Marie, he refused standard drugs. “He self-medicated with ingesting and chocolate,” she says. He would go on what Marie and different associates known as “outages,” the place he lay motionless for days, refusing meals and all human contact. However ultimately he would snap out of it. “He wore his disappointment like an additional layer of pores and skin,” Marie remembers. However, she provides, “I really dug his imperfectly good solitary singular self.”
Throughout this time in Baton Rouge Rodriguez began a relationship that will final for 5 years. However it ended fairly badly. When it was over, the lady he had dated wrote on her Fb web page, “Residence 950 a month / payments 300 a month / Standing as much as the monster that beat you up emotionally and bodily for five years? Priceless.” After Rodriguez was recognized because the hiker, the lady’s mom commented on Fb, “This man was so abusive to my daughter, he modified her.”
His colleagues from that point, studying of his story now, appeared saddened. However not solely shocked. “He was all the time very introverted, saved to himself. His jokes had been normally obscure,” says a colleague named Keith Dad or mum. “None of that is shocking, aside from the truth that, ultimately, he died.”
“I appeared for Vance in mid-2017 to rent him to construct an app for a consumer of mine,” says one other coworker from Customers Alternative named David Blazier. “And I might have paid him actually something he requested. I by no means discovered him.”
In 2013, Rodriguez moved to New York Metropolis. He’d met a lady, whom I’ll name Ok, in a web based chat room. Ok, who requested for anonymity due to the general public obsession in regards to the hiker, was then ending school in upstate New York. They traveled backwards and forwards to go to one another. As their relationship developed, they determined to each transfer to New York Metropolis and dwell collectively. She was going into vogue and needed to be there. He had spent his life in Louisiana and welcomed the change. He’d by no means seen snow earlier than. At first, he was romantic and candy. However quickly he began to clam up and shut her out. “If one thing upset him, he would cease speaking to me utterly. Which will be lonely while you share a 500-square-foot house,” she says.