by McGuire | May 26, 2016 12:23 am
A 66-year-old hiker who was found dead two years after she went missing on the Appalachian Trail kept a journal of her ordeal after getting lost in the wilderness. This is such a tragic loss:
Geraldine Largay, from Brentwood, Tennessee, left a heartbreaking note to whoever found her remains begging them to call her husband and daughter to let them know she had died.
The last entry, dated on August 28 2013, reveals she survived for at least 26 days after she got lost while going off the trail to relieve herself.
On one torn-out page, dated August 6, Largay wrote: ‘When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry.
‘It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me – no matter how many years from now.
‘Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them.’
Inside the bag was her cellphone and the journal.
In a 1,500-page report into her death, seen by the Boston Globe, the Maine Warden Service reveal Largay attempted to text her husband after getting lost, but the messages never went through because of poor reception.
Wardens believe Largay went to higher ground in an attempt to get better signal before making camp on a raised knoll.
Her kit, which included a tent, Mylar blanket and rain gear were all used during her almost month-long ordeal before she died from lack of food and exposure.
Her skeletal remains were discovered last year by the Maine Warden Service on October 16 on property owned by the U.S. Navy in Redington, three miles away from where she was last seen.
Following her disappearance, the Warden Service launched one of the largest and most extensive search operations in its history in order to try and track her down.
The search area covered 23 square miles and involved teams of wardens and volunteers scouring the terrain.
At one point a dog crew led by wardens came within 100 yards of her campsite, according to the Portland Press Herald, but her remains were not discovered.
Wardens say the fact that the remains were inside a sealed tent likely meant the dogs were unable to pick up on her scent.
Her remains were eventually found after two surveyors doing environmental work stumbled upon her campsite by accident.
The area where she was discovered was described as being so densely forested that only trained wardens had been allowed to search there.
The property where Largay’s body was recovered is part of a U.S. Navy’s survival skills training facility.
The Navy uses the area for its Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program and as such it is remote and not easily accessible.
The warden service said in a statement that the search for Largay was ‘one of Maine’s most unique and challenging search and rescue efforts’.
Largay’s family issued a statement after her remains were found saying: ‘After all of the communication and information from everyone involved including the Medical Examiner’s Office, Navy, and the Maine Attorney General’s Office, these findings are conclusive in that no foul play was involved and that Gerry simply made a wrong turn shortly after crossing Orbeton Stream.
‘We wish to thank all of those who gave their time and prayers while searching for our wife, sister, mother, and grandmother.
‘We especially would like to thank the entire Maine Warden Service for their dedication to this case.
‘It became apparent from day one that this was personal to them and they would not rest until Gerry was found.
‘Now that we know her death was an accident, we again ask all media for the respect of our privacy as we continue our grieving process with this new chapter of closure.’
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Largay family at this time. May she rest in peace.
Written by Katie McGuire. Send your hate mail to the author at [email protected], or feel free to mean tweet me at @GOPKatie, where I will be sure to do very little about it.
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