A self-described professional Bigfoot hunter and two companions have released a video of themselves finding a sports bra they speculated might have belonged to Geraldine Largay, who disappeared from the Appalachian Trail in July.
But the Maine Warden Service said a connection to the case is unlikely.
Bill Brock, of Durham, a survivalist and hunter of the legendary woods-inhabiting hairy monster, says he doesn’t believe the area along the south branch of the Carrabassett River in Franklin County has been adequately searched for the missing hiker.
Brock posted an eight-minute video on YouTube of himself, Jinger Olinselot of Richmond, and a man Brock known only as Wild Bill, a registered Maine guide, as they conducted a recent two-day search for Largay along the river.
Brock said he was motivated to search the area because he hiked there two days before Largay disappeared and the river was swollen by rain. He developed a theory that Largay tried to cross the river there to save time as she tried to get to her husband, who was just a couple of miles away. It rained heavily the day Largay, 66, of Tennessee, was last seen.
In the video, which has been viewed about 600 times on YouTube, Brock and his companions find a sports bra and a plastic sandwich bag in piles of debris that were left on the river bank as the water receded.
They marked the site and brought members of the Carrabassett Valley Police Department and a warden to the site.
Cpl. John MacDonald, spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, confirmed the men turned over the sports bra, but the service has spoken to Largay’s family and said it’s not likely the bra belongs to her.
Brock said the family couldn’t confirm whether the bra belonged to Largay.
Brock said he doesn’t believe the area has been searched thoroughly enough, but MacDonald said the service has conducted significant searches in that area of the Carrabassett River.
“It’s been part of the scenario that we felt we eliminated in past searches and feel comfortable that we’ve covered that area,” he said.
Deer season begins Nov. 4, and MacDonald has asked hunters in the area to be aware of the investigation and be on the lookout for any signs of Largay.
Largay was last heard from on July 22, when she sent a text message to her husband, George Largay, who was tracking her progress and meeting up with her at checkpoints as she hiked the northern half of the 2,179-mile trail.
A $15,000 reward offered by Largay’s husband Oct. 1 has not yet generated any solid information on what may have happened to her, MacDonald said. An experienced hiker, she was last seen wearing a reddish pullover shirt, tan shorts, a blue hat and a black and green backpack. She is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs about 115 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes.
George Largay held a memorial service for his wife Oct. 12 in Georgia.
Geraldine Largay spent the night of July 21 at the Poplar Ridge lean-to in Redington Township, and planned to meet her husband on July 23 in Wyman Township, where Route 27 intersects with the trail, but she never arrived. She’d hiked more than 900 miles of the northern section of the trail, had just crossed from New Hampshire into Maine’s western mountains, and was about 200 miles from the summit of Mount Katahdin, the trail’s end, when she disappeared.
Since the award was announced, MacDonald said the Warden Service has received 10 contacts about the Largay search, including Brock’s.
“To date, no substantiated leads have been established,” MacDonald said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
The ground search for Largay continued for about a week after she was reported missing, after which the warden service scaled the search back but left the investigation open.
Hunters or others in the area who see something that they think might be connected to Largay are asked not to collect or disturb the items. Instead, police ask that the finder mark or flag the area, note the GPS coordinates if possible, take pictures, and call the Maine State Police at 624-7076.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287