Search continues for person who jumped from Bangor bridge

Posted Nov. 15, 2010, at 10:27 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The search is ongoing for a Bangor resident who is believed to have jumped off the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge.

Police believe the person seen jumping from the bridge on Nov. 4 was William Hilderbrand, 22, who has lived his life as a woman. A purse found on the bridge contained Hilderbrand’s identification and cell phone. Hilderbrand is officially listed as missing, Bangor police officials have said.

The Down East Emergency Medicine Institute conducted an imagery air search on Sunday, taking 378 high-quality digital images of the river to search for clues to Hilderbrand’s whereabouts, and discovered an object of interest that was investigated Monday, said DEEMI director Richard Bowie.

What looked like a pair of legs submerged in the murky waters near Gondola Bay, the first inlet south of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, turned out to be a tree, he said.

“Two of the branches, which were cut off at the same length, were stripped of bark,” Bowie said at about 12:45 p.m. Monday. “We just cleared that a few minutes ago. It’s a negative find.”

Hilderbrand’s father, George Bassett of Pleasant Point, where Hilderbrand grew up, could be seen in the boat that investigated the underwater object of interest.

More than a dozen family members and others gathered at Gondola Cove, which is located next to the Sandy Point Game Management Area, and continued to search the area for their loved one Monday afternoon, Bowie said.

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