Maine wardens call for more volunteers in search for missing Tennessee hiker

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Posted July 31, 2013, at 9:33 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Warden Service issued a call Wednesday evening for volunteer searchers affiliated with the Maine Association for Search and Rescue in its ongoing effort to locate a Tennessee hiker who hasn’t been seen since July 21.

“At this time, the Maine Warden Service seeks searchers who are only affiliated with MASAR as we move forward. Those people are to contact the MASAR duty officer,” Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service said in a media update shortly after 6 p.m.

“We also continue to seek information from anyone who stayed at the Spaulding Mountain lean-to on the night of Monday, July 22,” MacDonald said. “We have been utilizing national cellphone analyst experts and have taken all leads to this point as far as we can go.”

An experienced hiker, Geraldine Largay, 66, had been hiking the Appalachian Trail since April, according to previous reports.

Largay’s plan was to meet her husband on Monday, July 22, in Wyman Township, an unorganized territory in Franklin County, MacDonald said earlier. He said that Largay sent a text to her husband at 7:15 a.m. on the appointed day but never arrived at their meeting place.

MacDonald earlier that wardens are looking for an unidentified female who called the Stratton Motel about 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, reporting that “Inchworm” — Largay’s trail name — was overdue in meeting with her husband, George.

MacDonald said game wardens also are looking to speak with any hikers who may have stayed at or hiked past the Spaulding lean-to on the Appalachian Trail on July 22 or July 23.

He urged anyone with information regarding Largay or the unknown female who called the Stratton Motel to call the Augusta Public Safety Dispatch Center at 207-624-7076 or 800-452-4664.

On Monday, the search area was narrowed to a 14-mile section of the Appalachian Trail extending between Lone Mountain in Mount Abram Township to Route 27 in Wyman Township, MacDonald said earlier this week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, searchers continued to comb that area as well as a 9-mile section of the trail between Lone Mountain and the Caribou Valley Road intersection, MacDonald said.

MacDonald said Tuesday that Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Chandler Woodcock and Maine Warden Service Col. Joel Wilkinson will evaluate on a day-to-day basis the most appropriate direction in which to proceed in the search for the missing woman.

So far, the search for Largay has involved a warden service aircraft, Civil Air Patrol ground searchers, Mahoosuc SAR, Franklin County SAR, members of Acadia National Park SAR, and Maine Search and Rescue canine teams, according to MacDonald.

The number of searchers is expected to expand this weekend as more volunteers become available.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/31/news/state/still-no-sign-of-missing-tennessee-hiker-geraldine-largay-say-maine-wardens/ printed on September 20, 2014