Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine Largay’s death was accidental, the state medical examiner has determined, and a cellphone found with her remains shows some of her last movements on the trail.

Remains found near the Appalachian Trail in Redington Township earlier this month have been officially identified as those of the Tennessee woman, according to a Friday press release from the Maine Warden Service.

After examining the remains and working in conjunction with investigators in the case, the medical examiner’s office has ruled that Largay’s death was because of lack of food and water and environmental exposure, the release said.

The warden service on Oct. 16 announced remains believed to be those of Largay were found earlier that week, but were waiting for the medical examiner’s ruling to make it official. Largay was a thru-hiker from Tennessee who disappeared from the trail in 2013.

Along with clothing and other belongings, Largay’s cellphone was discovered among her possessions, and examination by the Maine State Police Computer Crime Lab showed she was on the trail July 22, 2013, before becoming lost.

Information on the phone revealed that Largay had reached Orbeton Stream and a discontinued railroad bed crossing in the late morning of July 22, 2013. Shortly after reaching the intersection she continued north on the Appalachian Trail and at some point left the trail and became lost, the release said. Orbeton Stream is about a third of the way between the Poplar Ridge lean-to, where Largay was last seen, and the Spaulding Mountain lean-to.


The exact location where she left the trail is unknown. Her remains were found about two miles off the trail in a U.S. Navy training area.

Largay’s family said in the release that “these findings are conclusive in that no foul play was involved and that Gerry simply made a wrong turn shortly after crossing Orbeton Stream.

“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.”

The Warden Service said the findings “now bring closure to one of Maine’s most unique and challenging search and rescue incidents.”

A forester conducting an environmental survey for the Navy found the remains on Oct.14 and reported it to the Navy, who notified the warden service, the release said. Game wardens, state police, investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a representative from the medical examiner’s office all hiked to the scene on Oct. 15.

The statement from the Largay family also thanks all those who helped search for Largay.

“We wish to thank all of those who gave their time and prayers while searching for our wife, sister, mother, and grandmother,” the statement said. “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.”

Largay was last seen on the morning of July 22, 2013, at the Poplar Ridge lean-to. She was planning to hike to Spaulding lean-to in Redington Township about eight miles north and had plans to meet her husband, George Largay, at the trailhead on Route 27 the following day. She never arrived at the location.

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