Missing Austrian man walked out of woods after getting mired on logging road

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted March 29, 2012, at 9:40 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — An Austrian man who had been missing for a week turned up Thursday morning on Telos Road after a more than four-hour walk from the unnamed logging road where his motorcycle became mired in mud.

Shortly afterward, Johannes Stummer, 25, encountered a forester who gave him a ride to a logging camp operated by Pelletier Brothers Inc. of “American Loggers” fame, Investigator Jamie Kane of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department said early Thursday evening.

Kane said that Stummer was none the worse for wear when he was found. In fact, the tourist didn’t even know that people were searching for him.

“He was in great spirits,” Kane said. “The forester that picked him up got him some food and he got more when he got to the Pelletiers’ camp. He appeared to be fine. He did not need medical attention.

“He was very good to deal with,” Kane added. “He had a good sense of humor.”

Stummer could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Stummer last had been seen about 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in Big Moose Township in the Hartford Point area of Moosehead Lake just north of Greenville, Piscataquis County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Young said Wednesday in a news release.

Stummer, who planned to tour the United States on his black Suzuki 650 motorcycle, arrived in the United States around March 1 and spent time in Vermont and then Canada before coming to Maine on March 12. He had been staying in the Big Moose area since March 18, according to Young.

The Sheriff’s Department and the Maine Warden Service asked for the public’s help in finding Stummer on Wednesday after he had been missing for nearly a week.

Larry Pelletier, who is foreman of the remote logging operation, provided searchers some valuable assistance, as did the Maine Warden Service, Kane said.

When Pelletier read about the missing traveler in an online story, he recognized him as the young man he had met the Thursday near a gate on Telos Road.

Pelletier said he stopped to ask if Stummer was alright and he said that he was, Kane said.

Stummer told Pelletier that he was headed north and that he knew where he was going, Kane said. He said he was looking for a campsite. Kane said that Stummer then asked Pelletier where the nearest gas station was. Pelletier gave him some gasoline he was carrying and told the traveler how to get to Millinocket.

“He helped us tremendously,” Kane said of Pelletier. Among other things, he helped comb a series of logging road for signs of Stummer’s motorcycle, Kane said.

“It looks like he took a wrong turn because he ended up on a road that was very soft and slippery,” Kane said.

An adventure that could have ended badly for Stummer had a happy ending, thanks in large part to planning.

“He was fairly well prepared,” Kane said. He said Stummer brought food with him — enough to last him through Wednesday. “He had a fire going and kept it going to keep himself warm.

Stummer did not have a cell phone with him but even if he had, it wouldn’t have been useful in that location because there is no service, Kane said.

One thing that did not work in the traveler’s favor, however, was Wednesday’s snow.

“When he walked out of the woods, it started snowing and that covered his tracks,” Kane said.

Though several hours of searching Thursday failed to turn up Stummer’s Suzuki, Kane said picking it up on Friday will be a snap.

Stummer had a GPS on his motorcycle and brought it with him when he struck out in search of help. After he was brought to the Sheriff’s Department headquarters in Dover-Foxcroft, he was able to download the coordinates of where he had been and print out a map.

Stummer was reported missing Friday by the staff at Moose Mountain Inn in Greenville, where he had been staying, after he did not return to his lodgings, Investigator Allen Emerson of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.

Emerson said Stummer initially was reported missing to the warden service, which on Friday began ground and aerial searches of the area and has been looking ever since.

Among the places that have been searched are a remote wooded area and Moosehead Lake, Emerson said.

“The lake’s not safe to go out on, so that’s a concern,” he said.

Emerson said investigators in Maine were able to uncovered some information about what brought Stummer to Maine.

After riding his motorcycle throughout Europe last year, Stummer this year planned to tour the United States, Emerson said. He said the missing man’s travel plans called for a trip to Mexico in May.

Kane said that Stummer, who has been keeping in weekly contact with his family by email, was staying at a local hotel until Friday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/29/news/piscataquis/missing-austrian-man-walked-out-of-woods-after-getting-mired-on-logging-road/ printed on August 21, 2014