Remains Positively Identified As Those of Hiker Geraldine Largay
Remains found earlier this month have been positively identified as Geraldine Largay, an Appalachian Trail hiker from Tennessee who went missing over two years ago.
Corporal John MacDonald with the Maine Warden's Service said in a press release that the cell phone found in Geraldine's possession was examined by the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Lab. Information on the phone concluded that Gerry reached Orbeton Stream and the discontinued railroad bed in the late morning of July 22, 2013. Shortly after reaching that intersection, she continued North on the Appalachian Trail and, at some point, left the trail and became lost. The exact location where she departed the trail is unknown. Her death has been ruled accidental due to lack of food and water and environmental exposure.
The remains were found Wednesday morning, October 14th, 2015 by a contractor conducting a forestry survey as part of an environmental impact statement on property owned by the U.S. Navy in Redington Township. The contractor reported his findings to the Navy who subsequently alerted the Maine Warden Service.
The findings and conclusion of the resulting investigation bring closure to one of Maine's most unique and challenging search and rescue cases. 66-year-old Geraldine 'Gerry ' Largay started her hike on the Appalachian Trail in April of 2013 at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Her trail name was 'Inchworm' and her destination was Baxter State Park in Maine. Gerry's husband George kept track of her along the way and made frequent pre-determined stops to resupply her. She was reported missing after failing to meet up with George on July 23rd at the Route 27 crossing. The last time she was seen alive was the day before at the Poplar Lean-to.
The Maine Warden Service is sending thanks to the many law enforcement and EMS organizations, search and rescue volunteers, and local business owners who generously gave their time and resources in searching for Largay. MacDonald says they consistently see the community spirit in Maine and says this is 'another fine example of a community coming together to assist helping a person and family in need.'
The Largay family has issued a statement:
"We wish to thank all of those who gave their time and prayers while searching for our wife, sister, mother, and grandmother. We especially would like to thank the entire Maine Warden Service for their dedication to this case. It became apparent from day one that this was personal to them and they would not rest until Gerry was found. After all of the communication and information from everyone involved including the Medical Examiner's Office, Navy, and the Maine Attorney General's Office, these findings are conclusive that no foul play was involved and that Gerry simply made a wrong turn shortly after crossing Orbeton Stream. Now that we know her death was an accident, we again ask all media for the respect of our privacy as we continue our grieving process with this new chapter of closure."