More than 100 wardens, professional rescuers and volunteers have been searching for Geraldine “Gerry” Largay, 66, of Brentwood, TN, since she was reported missing by her husband, George, on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
Today, almost two weeks later, the search was cut back extensively, according to Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service.
Gerry began hiking the Appalachian Trail in Harpers Ferry, WV, in April, on her way to Mount Katahdin, in Maine’s Baxter State Park, using the trail name “Inchworm.”
George Largay was resupplying her at predetermined spots along the Trail.
Gerry didn’t arrive as scheduled on Route 27 in Stratton, roughly 20-miles northeast of Rangeley and near the Sugarloaf ski resort.
Gerry sent a text to her husband at 7:15 a.m. on July 24th — the day they planned to connect – but she never arrived.
The missing hiker is 5-feet, 5-inches tall, weighs 115 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black pullover shirt, tan pants, a blue hat and was carrying backpack that is black and green.
Lt. Adam and scores of searchers began looking for Gerry in a remote 81-square-mile search area. That was reduced to a 4.2 square mile section near the AT on Sunday, August 4th, when Lt. Adams said, “What we are trying to do today is get in between linear features that we have already searched. Things like trails, drainages, roads — she’s obviously not on those, which indicates to us she must be in between one of those and that is obviously much more difficult in this terrain.”
On Monday, the search area was narrowed again to a 14-mile section of the Appalachian Trail extending between Lone Mountain in Mount Abram Township to Route 27 near Stratton.
Searchers on foot and horseback — and nine dogs trained to pick up human scents — did not find any clues about Gerry’s disappearance.
On Sunday, July 21st, Inchwood spent the night at Poplar Ridge lean-to, eight miles west of the Spalding Mountain lean-to, which authorities first believed she reached … but didn’t.
Gerry was just 21.5 miles from the Route 27 intersection in Stratton, near where she planned to meet her husband. Since that time, her whereabouts have been unknown.
Game wardens are hoping to speak to hikers who may have been near the AT’s Spaulding lean-to on July 22nd or July 23rd.
Gerry had been on the Trail for more than three months. She had planned her hike for a year and a half. She had a tent and was well supplied.
Then, she vanished.
Experienced searchers and rescue personnel looked in all the spots were they would expect a hiker to go. None of her personal belongings or hiking gear were spotted.
One modest clue came from an unidentified female who called the Stratton Motel. Reports say the lady called on Wednesday, July 24th around 5 PM and made a reference to “Inchworm” being late for a meeting with her (Inchworm’s) husband.
We are thankful for the Civil Air Patrol ground searchers, the Mahoosuc Search & Rescue teams, Franklin County SAR, Maine Warden Service, the Acadia National Park SAR, and Maine Search and Rescue canine teams — along with many dedicated volunteers.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Geraldine “Gerry” Largay a.k.a. “Inchworm” is asked to call the Augusta Public Safety Dispatch Center at 207-624-7076 or 1-800-452-4664.
We also thank TV station WCSH in Portland, Maine, for their extraordinary coverage.
At this time it seems our only hope is to ask God to keep Gerry safe until she can be found alive.