Random robberies of hikers are generally rare for the reason you stated––robbers want to steal items of value, and those out hiking trails typically leave valuable items (aside from cellphones) behind. IMO a robber would be much more likely (and successful) to break into vehicles parked at a trailhead than trying to confront and rob hikers on a trail. With that being said, I was able to find a few instances (literally only 2 that match the description of WR and SR's murder) of violent trail robberies.Ugh - shot several times each? Does anyone know of other cases of hikers being shot during an attempted robbery? Most people out for a walk have very little of value on them so robbery seems like such an unlikely motive. But this couple also seem so mild-mannered and from such a low-risk demographic, to have been a victim of a targeted attack by someone they possibly knew also seems incredibly unlikely.
I am at a loss for what happened here - really hoping the police have more leads.
David Ruenzel, a 60-year-old retired English and journalism teacher, was killed during a robbery while hiking at the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve in Oakland, CA in 2014. His murderers have not been apprehended.
In 2014, 69-year-old Francis “Pat” Gregory was hiking on the Iron Canyon Trail off State Route 36-E in Red Bluff, CA with a friend when a gunman confronted the pair in a remote area about 100 yards from the trailhead and demanded their personal belongings. Although neither of the men resisted the robber's demands, the gunman shot both men, killing Pat and critically injuring his friend. As of 2019, Pat's murderer had not been identified.
29-year-old filmmaker Jason Cortez was killed while hiking in Los Angeles' Ernest E. Debs Regional Park in September 2021 by a single shot to the back. Police believe he was shot by a single rifle shot from a man hiding in the bushes about 75-100ft away. Robbery is not a motive in this case, however.