SKOWHEGAN — A Skowhegan man whose body was found in August near his Main Street home died from accidental drowning, according to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner.
Vaughn Giggey III, 40, fell into a 3-foot-deep pool the night of Aug. 23 in a brook in thick woods and brush as he tried to make his way to his mother’s house, according to the investigative report that the medical examiner’s office released Tuesday to the Morning Sentinel.
The report states that Giggey had not been drinking alcohol, but it cited anecdotal evidence that he’d been using marijuana and that his reaction to it might have caused him to take the route he did.
Giggey’s girlfriend, Brandy Remmers, told police he was “tripping on marijuana” and appeared paranoid and was “talking nonsense,” according to the report, which also states he was not known to smoke marijuana regularly.
Giggey sought a route through the woods to avoid contact with anyone because of the paranoia, according to the report.
“The information indicated that Mr. Giggey had smoked marijuana and had a reaction to the cannabinoids,” according to the report signed Feb. 28 by Chief Medical Examiner Margaret Greenwald. “Apparently this was something that had happened to him many years before when he had previously used the drug.”
The investigative report notes that testing for cannabinoids in the blood could not be completed because of interfering compounds, most likely as a result of the body’s decomposition.
The autopsy revealed superficial injuries to the chin, elbows, left hip and left knee; but the cause of death was drowning, according to the report.
Giggey’s mother, Roseanne Dubay, said Tuesday she didn’t want to discount what Remmers told police, but said she found it hard to believe that smoking marijuana led to her son’s death.
“I don’t think that a few puffs of a bowl or a bong would have affected him that bad,” she said. “He has smoked — not a lot, but he has taken puffs before.
“But if (the report) shows that there was no foul play, I guess I’m satisfied as much as I can be,” she added.
Giggey left his apartment about 10 p.m. Aug. 23 to walk to his mother’s house on Chamberlain Street.
He never arrived.
The walk along roads would have been about a mile and a half, down Main Street, then a sharp V turn up Fairview Avenue. Giggey apparently chose to cut through the woods and brush around Currier Brook to go directly to Fairview Avenue.
Search dogs from the Maine Warden Service and the Maine State Police hunted for Giggey. A Warden Service airplane and members of Maine Search and Rescue Dogs also were sent to the area.
His brother Arthur Giggey, 35, said at the time that Vaughn did not have a flashlight in the dark or even his cellphone for light and might have lost his way in the thick underbrush.
His body was discovered about noon four days later by a state trooper with a search dog in the stream, which is in a deep, wooded ravine between Main Street and Fairview Avenue. The area is near Redington-Fairview General Hospital’s helicopter pad.
The body showed no signs of injury, broken vertebrae or trauma, police said in August. There was no suicide note and no weapon found with his remains.
An autopsy performed the same week by the medical examiner in Augusta was inconclusive about the cause of death, Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais said at the time. He said Skowhegan police Detective Ronnie Blodgett was present for the autopsy.
Blais said the cause and manner of death were not considered suspicious. A toxicology report on Giggey was expected to take several weeks to complete but took nearly seven months to be released.
The case was finalized Feb. 18 but still had a review stage to go through that was completed about a week ago, said Mark Belserene, administrator at the medical examiner’s office.
He said a staffing shortage and a backlog of work at the Augusta office was partly the cause for the delay in the release of details on Giggey’s death.