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Remains positively identified as Geraldine Largay

The Original Irregular of Kingfield, Maine

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AUGUSTA — The Office of Chief Medical Examiner has positively identified the skeletal remains found Oct. 14, in Redington Township as Geraldine Largay through DNA analysis, reported Corporal John MacDonald with the Maine Game Warden Service Friday. After examination of the remains and working in conjunction with information from investigators on the case, the Chief Medical Examiner determined this was an accidental death due to lack of food and water and environmental exposure.

The cell phone found in Geraldine's possession has been examined by the Maine State Police Computer Crime Lab. Information found on the cell phone concluded that Largay reached Orbeton Stream and the discontinued railroad bed crossing 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.

The remains were found 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 which subsequently alerted the Maine Warden Service. Personnel that included game wardens, State Police personnel, Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators, and a Medical Examiner's Office representative hiked to the scene of the remains Thursday morning Oct. 15.

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 and about 3,500 feet east of the easterly shore of Redington Pond. These findings now 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 re-supply 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 in Maine. She was planning to hike that day to Spaulding Lean-to in Redington Township, approximately eight miles to the north. 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.

The Maine Warden Service expressed its appreciation to the many law enforcement and EMS organizations, search and rescue volunteers, and local business owners who generously gave their time and resources. "We consistently see the community spirit in Maine and this is another fine example of a community coming together to assist in helping a person and family in need," MacDonald said.

No further information is available at this time from both the Maine Warden Service and the Largay family.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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