Geraldine Largay: Missing while hiking the Appalachian Trail FOUND

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This story has been updated several times, please start at the bottom of the post to read the original story.

UPDATE 5/21/16 – The Boston Globe has announced that Largay was alive at least 26 days after she went missing.  A journal that was found showed an entry on Aug. 18.  A note on Aug. 6 said, 

“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.”

She was found about 3,000 feet away from the trail, or roughly a 10-minute walk. Largay also sent out text messages but because of her location the text messages were never delivered.  In those texts Largay said she was lost.

We are now finding out the crew for Animal Planet’s Northwoods Law was there shooting the show when Largay’s remains were found.  Click here to see a clip from the video.

For the full story, tune into ‘North Woods Law’, returning to Animal Planet on Thursday, June 2 at 9/8c.

UPDATE:  1/29/16 – The mystery behind the disappearance of Geraldine Largay has somewhat been revealed.  The Office of Chief Medical Examiner stated that Geraldine died of exposure and lack of food and water and that Geraldine died inside her sleeping bag inside her tent. The report goes on to say that she had built a sleeping platform out of soil and pine needles and the  visibility of the campsite would have been very limited because of tree cover. WMTW-TV quotes the report as saying that the “moisture-resistant fabric of the tent and her sleeping bag protected her body for weeks after her death and likely prevented search dogs from picking up a scent during the search for her.”

UPDATE:  10/16/15 – Breaking news:

The Main Warden Service in Redington Township is reporting they have found the skeletal remains of missing hiker Geraldine Largay that has been one of the most mysterious disappearance on the Appalachian Trail.

The agency said the remains were found Wednesday more than 3,000 feet from the trail by a contractor conducting a forestry survey on property owned by the U.S. Navy in Redington. Several pieces of clothing and belongings consistent with items owned by Largay were found. The coroner must confirm the identity and cause of death which may take a bit, but no foul play has been stated. 

UPDATE:  For a different perspective on the case of missing Largay, click here:  MIA on the AT

Is it possible Largay got lost on the US Naval Training Facility SEERS?

Postscript:  Will apparently, since this was written over a year ago, is was possible that Geraldine was lost at the facility.

According to the Boston Globe, Largay left the trail near a Navy survival school. Although many said the path was clearly marked and she should have known she was on government land, other say because of the weather conditions, she could have not seen the sign and gotten turned around. “She should have known she was on prohibited land, “Adam said. It was marked.

“I don’t know how she got there. I don’t know why she’s there,” Lt. Kevin Adam said, according to the WABI report.. “Hopefully, with some of the stuff we’ve found, her belongings, maybe that will give us some indication once we look at that.”

BUT according to the article MIA on the AT written by Hutch Brown,

“The facility’s borders are not fenced, and there are no signs along the A.T. warning hikers not to enter the area, though the trailside terrain discourages bushwhacking. The Railroad Road, which is more like a wide trail north of the A.T., provides easy access into the military facility, but hikers heading that way soon encounter signs warning against trespass. (The presence of one of Maine’s tallest waterfalls, the 321-foot Redington Pond Falls, inside the facility’s boundaries, may tempt some to try anyway.)

So within a few hundred yards of the section of trail where Largay disappeared, there’s an unfenced military base where enlisted fighters and, on occasion, non-enlisted contractors (soldiers of fortune), as well as foreign troops, run around the woods in mortal fear of being captured and tortured. The elaborate war games at SERE Schools also involve scenarios in which the trainees encounter “allies” in the field, who later betray them and turn them over to the interrogators at the fake P.O.W. camp. After being subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation, and numerous other torments and humiliations over the course of several days, many trainees forget the “scenario” is fake.
The SERE School’s proximity to the spot where Largay was last seen would appear to warrant further investigation. But that’s the third thing that disturbs me.

Largay’s disappearance was covered extensively by media in Maine, Tennessee and elsewhere. It was a national news story. But aside from a passing reference in a Tennessee publication noting that searchers have accessed the A.T. via military property, I’ve yet to find a single mention that the facility even exists in any news coverage of the search.
In part, that’s because officials with the Maine Warden Service, who are leading the investigation and providing reporters with updates, consider the possibility that someone connected to the SERE program could be involved in Largay’s disappearance so remote as to be unworthy of consideration.

State authorities have not ruled out the possibility of foul play. They say they simply lack any solid leads to pursue that angle. But again, if Largay was abducted or otherwise met a violent end, is it merely a coincidence that such a crime took place next to a school where the infliction of human suffering is part of the curriculum?”

You can’t help but wonder why Geraldine did not just stop, if she had gotten disoriented.  (It has been revealed from the Coroner’s report that Geraldine DID STOP.  And was waiting to be rescued) We know that Geraldine’s own husband followed her hike in his car, and Geraldine followed all the rules in hiking, so it’s safe to guess she would know better than to keep moving, and if she did stop and waited to be found, why didn’t anyone on the military base find her?  Was there a search done on the military base?  Since it was believed that Geraldine went missing farther down the trail than where her remains were found. Probably not, even though the Boston Globe and Brown both stated she probably was lost there. Until we here from the Coroner’s about her cause of death, we can only speculate what might have happened to Geraldine.

Original Story:  Geraldine Largay, 66, went missing while hiking in April 2013.  Geraldine of Brentwood, Tenn., began her hike on the Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry, W. Va., according to the Maine Warden Service.  Largay had hiked the trail previously, and goes by the trail named “inchworm.” As she made her way along the trail, her husband, George Largay (Sherpa), was meeting her off the trail periodically, restocking her supplies and staying in touch via cellphone and text messages, according to wardens.  On Monday, July 22, Geraldine sent a text message to her husband, George, arranging to meet him in Wyman Township on Wednesday, July 24, for resupply.  She never made it and that was the last time anyone heard from her. Aug. 4, wardens scaled back their search, after an intensive search south of Spaulding Mountain for Gerry.

In July 1983, Jessie Hoover, 54, of White Settlement, Texas, went missing while hiking the Appalachian Trail.  She went missing near the direction of the trailhead of the 100 Mile Wilderness, the most remote stretch of the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail.  Largay and Hoover are the only two people that have gone missing from the Appalachian Trail. 

Largay is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 115 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black pullover shirt, tan pants, blue hat and carried a green-and-black backpack.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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