Deer hunter finds human remains in Belmont woods, near home of missing man

Posted Nov. 22, 2010, at 1:21 p.m.

BELMONT, Maine — A deer hunter found a body in the Maine woods on Saturday, less than two miles from the home of a man who disappeared two and a half years ago.

Maine State Police think the skeletal remains found in thick woods about a mile off Back Belmont Road may belong to Charles Springer, who was 69 years old when he wandered away from his home the morning of May 2, 2008, and never came back, according to a statement from spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Springer suffered from dementia and was the subject of extensive air and ground searches as well as out-of-state inquiries.

The remains were recovered Saturday and Sunday by a team of Maine Game Wardens and Maine State Police and were taken to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for positive identification, McCausland said.

A woman at the medical examiner’s office said Monday afternoon that officials were in the middle of the investigation and do not yet have a positive identification of the remains.

Police notified Springer’s sister when the body was found to say that it might belong to her missing brother.

“It’s a mixed emotion,” said Joanne Grigoreas of Lebanon. “We’ve waited so long to know where my brother is. It’s kind of tough to take.”

Grigoreas said that the medical examiner’s office had requested Springer’s medical records.

In a 2008 BDN story about Springer’s disappearance, Grigoreas said that her brother often walked the roads around his Halls Corner Road home, visiting people, and that someone had spotted him later that morning about three miles away at the Town Hall.

But after that, the former long-distance truck driver disappeared without a trace, with only the clothes on his back and the shoes on his feet.

An outreach specialist with the Maine Alzheimer’s Association said then that an estimated 70 percent of all people with dementia will at some point wander and become lost, even in a familiar environment.

McCausland said that it was the third time this month that a deer hunter has found human remains.

Hunters also discovered a still-unidentified man on Nov. 4 in Stacyville and the body of William M. Stein, 60, of Vassalboro on Nov. 15. Stein, a convicted sex offender, had been missing since June and was found by hunters in the woods off Route 32 with a shotgun next to his body.

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