A lost hiker on the Appalachian Trail put pen to paper on the last days of her life, pleading with the person who discovered her remains to notify her family.
“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.”
Geraldine Largay wrote that note on a torn-out journal page on August 6, 2013, about two weeks after she lost her way in western Maine, according to a 1,579-page case file released this week by the Maine Warden Service.
Despite massive searches of the area after Largay was reported missing, the 66-year-old woman’s remains were not found until October 2015.
She became lost after leaving the trail to go to the bathroom, and survived at least 26 days before succumbing to starvation and exposure to the elements, authorities said.
She had set up a tent in a clearing and died inside, encased in her sleeping bag.
She was only a 10-minute walk from a dirt trail that leads to a road, authorities said.
Largay tried in vain to reach higher ground to get cell phone reception, but none of the texts she sent went through.
On July 23, after spending her first night lost in the woods, she wrote to her husband, “Lost since yesterday. Off trail 3 or 4 miles. Call police for what to do, pls. XOX.”
George Largay reported his wife missing on July 24, after she failed to show up at a prearranged meeting point on Route 27. She and a friend had started hiking the trail in West Virginia, but her hiking partner had to abandon the trek because of a family emergency.
Geraldine went on alone, bound for the trail’s end at Mount Katahdin in Maine.
The search for the missing woman was one of the biggest in state history and for more than two years an array of far-fetched tips came in, including information that Bigfoot was responsible for her disappearance, psychics saying they had divined her location, and allegations of identity theft involving her personal information.
In her tent, wardens found a black composition book she used as a journal. On the cover, she wrote, “George, please read. Xoxo.”