Geraldine Largay, a 66-year-old woman from Tennessee who got lost on the remote Appalachian Trail in 2013 to be found two years later, reportedly survived without food and shelter for more than 26 days. About two weeks she managed to write down her heart-wrenching experience in a journal.
But the most haunting message rescuers found in her backpack was a request to call her husband and her daughter when they manage to find her dead body.
“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,”
she added in the message.
She also asked authorities to submit a bag containing her journal and cell phone to her family. Largay went missing in July, 2013, but rescue teams were able to recover her body in October 2015.
Authorities believe that she was able to survive for nearly a month after she was declared missing and nearly three weeks before they stopped looking for her.
The Maine Warden Service, which performed the search, noted that team members came within 100 yards of the woman more than once. But although it was one of the largest rescue missions in the history of the agency, they couldn’t find her.
Wardens believe that the woman got lost when she was looking for a remote place as she needed to use the bathroom. But because the area is densely wooded she failed to get back on the trail. The U.S. Navy often uses the region for special missions focused on survival and camouflage techniques.
Authorities also found evidence on the woman’s smartphone that she tried to contact Mr. Largay through text messages, which were never delivered because of poor mobile phone signal.
There’s evidence that she even tried reaching higher elevations to deliver the messages and starting a huge fire.
In late July she wrote to her husband that she was in “somm trouble” after going deeper into the woods to “go to the br.” She asked him to get in touch with a trail maintainer who might help her.
The next day, she asked him to call the police. She was able to use her phone until Aug. 6, while the last entry journal was from Aug. 18. Authorities believe that she survived more than 26 days after she got lost.
Rescuers found that her last food supply comprised tuna fish, Gatorade powder and Clif bars. They also found a rosary at the site where her body was found. She apparently died of starvation and extreme environmental conditions.
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