May 26, 2018
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Machias man missing since Monday found alive by game wardens

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

EDMUNDS TOWNSHIP, Maine — Game wardens found a Machias man missing since July 2 on an isolated road Friday evening. The man had spent four days alone in the woods after his car got stuck.

Robert Townsend, 51, spent his first two nights in his car before leaving it behind and finding the abandoned Corey camp near Crane Mountain, where he spent the next two nights. He told wardens that while he was at the camp he found a rusty can of peas, which he ate the first night, and a can of baked beans, which he ate the second night.

Had wardens not found him when they did, Townsend told his rescuers he would have eaten the only other food he could find — a can of Alpo dog food.

At 4 p.m. Friday, Warden Joe McBrine received a call from Machias police Officer Darrel Hinnerman regarding Townsend’s disappearance. Hinnerman said Greg Burns of Whiting saw on Facebook that Townsend had been missing since July 2, but Burns told officers he saw Townsend driving on Dodge Road in Whiting on July 3.

McBrine and Warden Cpl. Wayde Carter, along with Warden Joey Gardner, began searching the Whiting end of Dodge Road and the “maze of old logging roads” in the area soon after, according to a Maine Warden Service press release.

At about 7 p.m., McBrine and Carter found a sneaker track at a four-way intersection just south of Eastern Lake, which gave them an idea of which direction the person was traveling. More tracks were located along the road.

McBrine turned on his siren periodically, hoping the missing man would hear it.

After about two miles, they found a broken maple tree branch in the road and more tracks along a small brook, where they found evidence that someone had kneeled down to take a drink.

At about 7:30 p.m., Gardner found Townsend’s car stuck in a wash-out at Cranberry Brook in Edmunds Township. The missing man had left a note on the car’s dashboard stating that he had no idea where he was and was going to walk into the woods.

Meanwhile, McBrine and Carter continued to use their siren and eventually heard someone shout out in response. They rounded the next corner and saw Townsend standing in the road.

The wardens gave Townsend food and water.

They then drove Townsend to the abandoned camp he had spent the past two nights in so he could recover his car keys. Wardens helped him get his car free and escorted him back to U.S. Route 1 in Whiting, where family members who hadn’t seen or heard from him in four days were waiting.

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