On Friday, October 30, 2015, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife announced the news that the Office of Chief Medical Examiner used DNA analysis to positively identify the skeletal remains of Geraldine Largay that were found on October 14, 2015 in Redington Township.
The Chief Medical Examiner (CME), in conjunction with information from investigators on the case, determined this was an accidental death, due to lack of food and water and environmental exposure.
The remains were found Wednesday morning, October 14, 2015 by a contractor conducting a forestry survey as part of an environmental impact statement on property owned by the US Navy in Redington Township. The contractor reported his findings to the Navy who subsequently alerted the Maine Warden Service. Personnel to include game wardens, State Police personnel, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigators, and a Medical Examiner’s Office representative hiked to the scene of the remains Thursday morning October 15, 2015.
According to the press release, the scene included skeletal remains and several pieces of clothing and belongings consistent with items known to be in Largay’s possession. The remains were located west of the Maine Public Reserve Land that contains a portion of the Appalachian Trail at a point about 3,500 feet east of the easterly shore of Redington Pond.
The cell phone found in Geraldine’s possession was examined by the Maine State Police Computer Crime Lab. Information found on the cell phone concluded that Gerry reached Orbeton Stream and the discontinued railroad bed crossing in the late morning of July 22, 2013. Shortly after reaching that intersection, she continued northward on the Appalachian Trail. At some point she “left the trail and became lost.” The exact location where she departed the trail is unknown.
Authorities hope these findings will bring closure to one of Maine’s most unique and challenging search and rescue incidents.
Geraldine “Gerry” Anita Largay, age 66, started her hike on the AT in April of 2013 at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; her trail name was “inchworm.” Her destination was Baxter State Park in Maine. Her husband George kept track of her along the way and made frequent pre-determined stops to resupply her.
On the morning of Sunday, July 21, 2013 she departed from her husband at the Route 4 AT crossing in Sandy River Plantation near the town of Rangeley. Later that day, she texted her husband and advised she was on top of Saddleback Mountain. Geraldine was last seen on the early morning of Monday, July 22 at Poplar Lean-to on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Maine. The attached photo of Geraldine was taken July 22 at Poplar Lean-to and is the last known photo of her. She was planning to hike that day to Spaulding Lean-to in Redington Township, approximately eight miles to the north. On Tuesday, July 23, she had planned to continue hiking north from Spaulding Lean-to located in Mount Abram Township to meet her husband who was waiting for her at the Route 27 crossing. Geraldine never arrived at that location.
A Statement from the Largay Family
“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 in 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.”
We are thankful that Inchworm was finally found, although we regret the circumstances.
May her family and friends find solace, comfort and closure.