Family offers reward for missing Brentwood hiker
The family of a 66-year-old Brentwood woman missing since July is offering $15,000 for information that could lead to her location.
Geraldine “Gerry” Largay went missing in Maine while thru-hiking half of the Appalachian Trail.
She began her hike April 23 in Harpers Ferry, W. Va., bound for Baxter State Park in Maine.
On July 23, Largay was scheduled to meet her husband George Largay in Wyman Township, Maine but she never arrived. George Largay had provided supplies for his wife at predetermined stops throughout her hike. He last saw her Sunday, July 21, near the town of Rangeley and last received a text from her the following morning.
On Tuesday, George Largay said he first began considering a cash reward a month ago, after about 12 searches – the most recent of which took place last Friday – had produced no information on his wife’s whereabouts.
After consulting with a Maine law firm and on the advice of state police, the Largay family decided on an amount “sizeable enough to get people’s attention, but not such a big number that the authorities who follow the leads get buried in the leads,” Largay said.
The warden service told the Largays prior to Friday’s search that unless something significant was found, the Sept. 27 search would be the last “major” one, Largay said, adding that there have been 14 such searches.
Though there is no specific time frame on the offer, Largay is hopeful that the Maine Warden Service will be able to find a lead when another helicopter search takes place in mid-November.
“When the leaves are off the trees in mid-November, the game wardens can take the helicopters lower than they could before, beneath some rocky areas. It is possible she slipped and fell some distance into some rocky areas they have not been able to get to. They’ve had choppers fly over them, but with leaves down, you’ll have greater visibility,” Largay said.
In the meantime, he is staying with his daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in Brentwood.
With no evidence, Largay has only speculated about what happened to his wife, but said her falling was the most logical explanation.
“What seems to make the most sense to me is she slipped and fell in an area where she might have fallen a long way. She had whistles, ways of making noise and drawing attention to herself, but she may have fallen a long way,” he said.
Largay said the past couple months in dealing with the open-ended situation have been “a roller coaster ride.”
“Until [the game wardens] find her, you don’t have closure. The unknown is always tough. There’s the numbness and shock that’s still there, which is less intense than in the early days, but it’s still there.”
Maine Warden Service began searching for Gerry the day she was reported missing on July 24. Since then, resources including K-9 units, helicopters and ground search teams were used to find her.
The search was scaled back in early August, and the area has been refined to about six miles between two trail lean-tos, Largay said, including some surrounding territory.
Gerry is described as 5-feet-5-inches, 115 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Largay’s trail nickname was “inchworm,” and she was last seen wearing a blue hat, reddish pullover, tan shorts and a black and green backpack.
Those with information on Largay should call the Maine Warden Service dispatch center at 207-624-7076 or provide information through the website.
Jessica Pace covers Williamson County, Williamson County Schools and the Town of Nolensville for BrentWord Communications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Jess_Marie_Pace.