Missing wrinkler investigation continues in Lubec

Posted Dec. 09, 2008, at 9:33 p.m.

LUBEC, Maine — Officers from the Department of Marine Patrol assisted by the Maine State Police on Tuesday continued to investigate the disappearance of a 27-year-old Lubec man who was last seen harvesting periwinkles in the Lubec Channel.

Kristopher Fergerson and his friend Dennis Knox, 47, also of Lubec, had been harvesting periwinkles, a small edible species of gilled snail known locally as “wrinkles,” the night of Dec. 2 when Fergerson disappeared.

Lt. Jackie Theriault of the Maine State Police said Tuesday night that detectives remained in Lubec and were still investigating.

“Basically we are still in the process of assisting the Marine Patrol with the missing-person report on Kris Fergerson,” she said. “There is nothing up to date. We are trying to determine where he is.”

Asked if there were any clues such as a lost glove or hat, clothing that Fergerson was last seen wearing, Theriault said, “At this point we don’t have anything confirming where he is at this time.”

Theriault said that there was no timeline on the investigation.

“We would like to assume that we will find him at some point here,” she said.

Sheriff Donnie Smith of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that state police had four detectives on the case. “They said there was nothing really new and nothing really concrete and they were just following some more leads and reinterviewing people,” he said.

Marine Patrol Officer Russell Wright could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Last Tuesday, Fergerson and Knox were wrinkling in the Lubec Channel near South Lubec Road.

The two men had gone by foot to the flats off Lower Water Street, in what is known as the Brownville section of Lubec.

Knox told police afterward that he and Fergerson had been picking wrinkles when the tide started to come in. He said he told Fergerson to quit and return to the car, but that when he turned around Fergerson wasn’t behind him.

He said he could hear him hollering. He said he believed Fergerson had been caught in the rising tide and had gone to higher ground to await rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Knox then went to the nearby U.S. Customs office at the foot of the Roosevelt-Campobello International Bridge to summon help.

Police and volunteers arrived soon afterward and combed the beach throughout last Tuesday night and into Wednesday, but Fergerson was never found.

Periwinkles are a kind of escargot and are sold through middlemen to markets in major U.S. cities and Canada, where they are cooked and eaten with butter and vinegar, according to Lubec wrinkle-buyer Ollie Blake of Lubec.

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