Search for missing hiker Largay intensifies Sunday

Members of the Maine Warden Service and volunteers gather July 30 at the command post at Sugarloaf to prepare for another day of searching for Geraldine Largay. The Appalachian Trail hiker is still missing as of August 4, but the search continues.
Scott Thistle | Sun Journal
Members of the Maine Warden Service and volunteers gather July 30 at the command post at Sugarloaf to prepare for another day of searching for Geraldine Largay. The Appalachian Trail hiker is still missing as of August 4, but the search continues.
Posted Aug. 04, 2013, at 4:09 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 04, 2013, at 8:29 p.m.
Geraldine Largay
Courtesy of the Maine Warden Service
Geraldine Largay

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — The search for a missing hiker from Tennessee involved up to 115 wardens and professional volunteer search and rescue workers Sunday, according to Lt. Kevin Adam of the Maine Warden Service.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s search there was no new attributing evidence or information found as to Geraldine Largay’s location, the warden service reported in a media release. The warden service said late Sunday that the search for Largay would be “extensively scaled back.”

Adam said the searchers used human-scent sniffing dogs that can smell for both living people and human remains.

“What we are trying to do today is get in between linear features that we have already searched,” Adam said. “Things like trails, drainages, roads — she’s obviously not on those, which indicates to us she must be in between one of those and that is obviously much more difficult in this terrain.”

Largay, 66 of Brentwood, Tenn., was reported missing on July 24 by her husband after she failed to show up at a prearranged meeting place on Route 27 in Wyman Township, just north of the Sugarloaf ski resort. Largay was attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail from West Virginia to Katahdin.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, Adam said neither rescue workers or family and friends of Largay were giving up hope in an effort that has confounded and frustrated those involved.

Searchers have found little evidence of Largay even though they believe they have narrowed where she should have been and searched dozens of areas where a hiker might logically go, were they to get off the well-marked Appalachian Trail.

Adam said they believed Largay had all of her gear and belongings still with her as they had not found anything yet belonging to her.

“She wasn’t leaving like a bread-crumb trail,” Adam said. “Those clues that can lead us to them and they are finding stuff, pieces of cloth, little candy wrappers. They are finding things like that but nothing that we can definitely attribute to her.”

Adam said the search efforts had been limited to only trained personnel, largely because of the challenges the steep and often thickly wooded terrain presented.

Sunday’s search focused on wooded areas off one of the side trails connecting the Appalachian Trail to Mount Abraham near the township of Madrid. Adam said the wardens’ investigation had determined Largay never made it to the Poplar Ridge Lean-to as they previously believed.

Meanwhile, a representative for Largay’s family, David Fox — also of Tennessee — expressed the family’s gratitude for the efforts of the state and volunteer workers.

“They have been doing this as though they were looking for their own spouse or their own mother or their own family — their own friend,” Fox said. “It’s been an unbelievable thing and there’s just no way to express just how much the family appreciates that.”

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