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  1. #2341
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    All civilian dedicated GPS units can get better than 5m accuracy now. Smart phones will do almost as well and sometimes even better when tracking on towers but I would assume that the searchers were not using a smart phone to track with. I've used cheap arduino gps units for water samplers at sea and the tracks compared to within 2m of the ship's military marine grade units. Don't government search teams have access to military grade GPS? This would probably be better than 2m accuracy under poor conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KDogg View Post
    All civilian dedicated GPS units can get better than 5m accuracy now. Smart phones will do almost as well and sometimes even better when tracking on towers but I would assume that the searchers were not using a smart phone to track with. I've used cheap arduino gps units for water samplers at sea and the tracks compared to within 2m of the ship's military marine grade units. Don't government search teams have access to military grade GPS? This would probably be better than 2m accuracy under poor conditions.
    Yes, since SA was turned off under good conditions a few meters is possible.
    But tight mountains can cause problems, tree canopy, lack of enough sky view for satellites, etc. All receivers arent equal when it comes to this.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-23-2016 at 00:06.

  3. #2343
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    Unfortunately, for every successful K9 search you can find one where a team was very near human decomposition and simply missed it
    After rereading my post let me clarify. I meant that here are many instances where scent dogs did/do not work, but I made it sound like a 50/50 situation which is probably not the case. Though there is no clear documentation on K9 scent dogs success rate in the real world, theres plenty in controlled environments. See the link below for a very scientific study for cadaver dogs and their effectiveness, with some info even on the inability to use cadaver scent dogs in court due to lack of effectiveness. Also posted are a couple of examples where cadaver dogs were close to victims with false positives and false negatives.

    http://dogsdontlie.com/main/2008/12/cadaver-dogs-how-reliable-are-they-at-detecting-death/





    http://www.pressherald.com/2014/05/19/body_of_missing_maine_teen_located__but_that_s_not _the_end_of_case_/





    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/alaska-police-confirm-missing-family-found-dead-near-rural-trail-1.3005984





    https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zL60ekYdecFc.k0LcQ5pbAJ3Y

  4. #2344

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hillwalker View Post
    Please close this thread. Even after it is closed, the ghouls, conspiracy theorists, and now, jokers can still read all the entries to get their dark kicks but not contribute to this string of sadness.
    I would suggest a simple way for you to not be subject to those things...............stop visiting this site!

  5. #2345
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    Default We'll likely never know why... but some good can still come from this.

    This story has both captivated and puzzled me since it began. After reading this entire thread I decided to sign up and comment with my first (long) post. As a career firefighter of over 20 years, Advanced EMT (Wilderness EMT in the past), and someone who spent years off and on volunteering with SAR teams (who wasn't part of the search for Gerry because my training isn't "current"), I felt drawn to share some thoughts.

    First, like everyone else here, I'm glad Gerry was finally found. Also, like everyone else, I'd like to know exactly what happened... but likely never will.

    I'm willing to bet that the State Police unit that looked over her phone may have a lot more data than they've let on. If Gerry was physically immobile and knew the end was near I'd be surprised if she didn't leave messages on her phone (if it still had a charge), in a journal, or anything else that could be written on. Did anyone else notice the last page of the M.E.'s report listed as evidence "Item #004 One manila envelope labeled "personal items of Geraldine Largay" "? As I wonder what was in that envelope and what other items were found with her that could better explain what happened, I also accept it really doesn’t matter.

    Working as a Firefighter and EMT, I'd appreciate (and could probably learn from) knowing all the objective details of Gerry's final days. Even if someone with knowledge of her last days could share specific details that would be helpful professionally, those details wouldn’t likely belong in the public domain. Maybe enough will eventually become known that Gerry’s case can be used as a teaching tool for SAR personnel, wilderness medical providers, and even hikers in the future. Only time will tell.

    Are there more specific details of what happened that only the authorities and family know? I expect so. Authorities have stated there was no indication of foul play. The family has said they are comfortable with the official explanation(s) of Gerry’s death and asked for privacy as they move on with their lives. I can and will respect that.

    Moving forward I think it is reasonable and absolutely necessary for officials to honestly and openly review the entire search operation... start to finish. You couldn't design a much more difficult search if you tried; remote location, significant distances to cover in widely varying terrain, a possibly moving target, potential witnesses that were mobile, scattered, and difficult to track down quickly, initial information that turned out to be wrong, etc. While there may have been mistakes made the whole thing sounds, to me, like the perfect storm of challenges... and missed opportunities.

    As good as search dogs and their handlers are, their success rate varies greatly due to variables beyond their control, so they’re just another tool in the tool bag. One poster mentioned he thought government search teams have access to military grade GPS. In my experience this generally isn’t true. Most of the government (local & state) workers I’ve seen are using DeLorme or Garmin retail units. Most of the SAR volunteers are similarly equipped. Even if you had a GPS unit that was accurate to an inch you’d still need a point to shoot for (Gerry’s final location) that searchers didn’t have.

    This incident has really made me think about getting back into SAR. I've been spending time catching up with friends in a number of SAR related organizations. I’m beginning to believe while some good change has taken place related to SAR in Maine since I was last involved, there are significant improvements that still need to be made. Politics and turf battles still cause unnecessary problems. Partnerships between public and private organizations need to be cultivated and fully utilized that currently aren’t. New technology should be in the front of everyone’s mind... to save time, money, manpower, and potentially lives.

    There certainly is a time and place for the tried and true “boots on the ground” SAR methods. This incident, however, sounds like it could have benefited from more technology right out of the gate. I’m not talking about “old school” flights with simple photographs and human eyes. I’m talking about thermal imaging, high resolution imagery in different spectrums of light with professional analysis, and other advanced imaging tools that I don’t think the Warden’s or MASAR have. Many may not know there is a private organization in the state which has gotten national recognition for its work and success using advanced imaging and technology for searches. This organization has fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, and even got approval from the FAA to use drones for SAR (reported to be the first civilian organization in the US to do so). They regularly offer to help with searches at minimal to no cost and are often turned away by the Warden’s Service. This needs to change!

    It appears to have taken days to get a significant number of SAR “boots on the ground” and longer still to get them even close to the right area. It should have taken only hours to get significant tech in the air once called. If things were done differently could Gerry have been found alive? It really depends on what actually took her life and how quickly it happened. Should she have been found more quickly? Given the technological resources currently available for SAR in this state, and knowing where she was ultimately found, I believe the answer to that question is yes.

    Again, I wasn’t involved in the search and only know what I’ve read from every “reputable” source I could get my hands on. Maybe someone that was directly involved with this search could offer more details about what was and wasn’t used for tech in this case. I’ve been involved in more incidents than I care to count where things were done well and the end result was still tragic. Could things have been done much better in this case? I can't say for sure but that is a fair question to ask and expect to have answered.

    Too often in the search for answers after something tragic we first look for someone to blame. If something is found to have been done terribly wrong here then hold an organization and/or a person appropriately accountable. However, the opportunity to do an honest and constructive post incident review should not be lost. All involved should determine what went well and why, what didn’t go well and why, and review the outcome with the benefit of hindsight to determine what resources would have been helpful that weren’t utilized.

    Rest in peace Gerry. May God bless your family with healing and peace. May He also give all involved with the search the wisdom and humility to learn something from this tragedy.

  6. #2346
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    Well said, and welcome to WB
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  7. #2347
    Registered User Majortrauma's Avatar
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    I am a retired Marine officer and although I never attended SERE school in Maine or any of the other locations, I am familiar enough with it to know that SERE school is a DoD training institution.
    I stand by my statement of fact that SERE school participated in this search. It was not just volunteers from the school. The leadership at SERE school had a genuine interest in finding Geraldine and actively participated in the search for her. I know this because a relative (active duty military) of mine was an instructor there at the time.

    That being said, what is the big concern over whether or not it was SERE school or volunteers from SERE school who participated in this search? From my perspective, it doesn't matter at all unless one is assembling as conspiracy theory instead of assembling facts.

  8. #2348
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majortrauma View Post
    I am a retired Marine officer and although I never attended SERE school in Maine or any of the other locations, I am familiar enough with it to know that SERE school is a DoD training institution.
    I stand by my statement of fact that SERE school participated in this search. It was not just volunteers from the school. The leadership at SERE school had a genuine interest in finding Geraldine and actively participated in the search for her. I know this because a relative (active duty military) of mine was an instructor there at the time.

    That being said, what is the big concern over whether or not it was SERE school or volunteers from SERE school who participated in this search? From my perspective, it doesn't matter at all unless one is assembling as conspiracy theory instead of assembling facts.
    Yes, conspiracy theories abound. Some think she was killed by people in that facility because she wandered too close to it.

  9. #2349
    Registered User ChuckT's Avatar
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    And you just had to repeat that?

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  10. #2350
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    While there may have been mistakes made the whole thing sounds, to me, like the perfect storm of challenges... and missed opportunities.
    Welcome Dave. Well said, all of it. It is, unfortunately, the perfect storm of lost person scenarios. Rest assured there is still the official file to be released and probably some basic info coming to reveal enough clues about what happened for us all to both learn from, and maintain our upmost respect for the departed.

    I don't see and end to the 'turf battles and politics' anytime soon, but rejoin SAR and make a difference. Who knows, its a pretty small community. Gently recommend that the Lt. in command not turn away resources and assets like hes playing a game of Risk. There was so much more man power and technology available that was cast aside in this instance for protocol.

  11. #2351
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckT View Post
    And you just had to repeat that?

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
    Of course! Why? Is it true? Do you know something?

  12. #2352
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    I know that repeating innuendo encourages innuendo.
    IMHO this discussion has had enough of innuendo and that dishonors Inch worm, her family, and all the kind people that tried to help.

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  13. #2353

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckT View Post
    IMHO this discussion has had enough of innuendo and that dishonors Inch worm, her family, and all the kind people that tried to help.
    The ghoulish self-promotion by a few forum members who perpetuate the conspiracy theories being pushed by a gossip columnist in Maine intentionally dishonor Inchworm.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  14. #2354

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    The ghoulish self-promotion by a few forum members who perpetuate the conspiracy theories being pushed by a gossip columnist in Maine intentionally dishonor Inchworm.

    Teej, I'm going to respectfully disagree. I never met Gerry, but feel as if I knew her. Based on all the interviews with people who did know her, I think she was courageous, adventurous, smart, enthusiastic, kind, and generous. She sounds as if she would have been fun to know and a pleasure to have as a hiking buddy. I don't think anything anyone says can dishonor her.


    The people who have whacky conspiracy theories have a right to express them, but they only dishonor themselves, not Inchworm.

  15. #2355

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    For the life of me I can not understand how people can believe that something other than tragic misfortune caused the loss of Inchworm. There is no evidence of anything else. The conspiracy ideas rest on the idea of guilt by proximity and nothing else. The truth is that bad things happen in life. When bad things happen it doesn't always mean someone did something wrong to cause it and there isn't always someone to blame for it happening. This is one of those times. A hiker got lost and never came home. It is sad, tragic and heartbreaking but there is no one to blame and no conspiracy involved.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  16. #2356
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    For the life of me I can not understand how people can believe that something other than tragic misfortune caused the loss of Inchworm. There is no evidence of anything else. The conspiracy ideas rest on the idea of guilt by proximity and nothing else. The truth is that bad things happen in life. When bad things happen it doesn't always mean someone did something wrong to cause it and there isn't always someone to blame for it happening. This is one of those times. A hiker got lost and never came home. It is sad, tragic and heartbreaking but there is no one to blame and no conspiracy involved.
    the nature of trolling is staying things to stir up controversy whether you believe it or not

  17. #2357

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    Nothing " dishonors" inchworm. Its a hollow baseless arguement of closeminded people that cant stand if others dont agree with them.

    As many suggest, those objecting should simply place on ignore
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-02-2016 at 18:02.

  18. #2358

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    For the life of me I can not understand how people can believe that something other than tragic misfortune caused the loss of Inchworm. There is no evidence of anything else. The conspiracy ideas rest on the idea of guilt by proximity and nothing else. The truth is that bad things happen in life. When bad things happen it doesn't always mean someone did something wrong to cause it and there isn't always someone to blame for it happening. This is one of those times. A hiker got lost and never came home. It is sad, tragic and heartbreaking but there is no one to blame and no conspiracy involved.
    Bob, I take it you're from Texas. Have you hear of the Maine Warden Service? At this point not many think anything other than a tragic misfortune did in fact take place. And we all realize bad things happen. These facts do not excuse the large mistakes that were made by our esteemed Maine Warden Service. We take great pride in our MWS. Their record is pretty near perfect. So, when a 66 year old woman goes missing and isn't found after the largest, most Expansive and most Expensive missing persons search in Maine history-- we have some questions.

    Then, to make mattes worse, when her remains are finally found, they are discovered to be more or less Right Under the Nose of the Maine Warden Service-- well then we have more questions.
    Some of these questions have been answered. Some have not. So when you speak of evidence there is much yet left to be collected and analyzed.

    How did the Maine Warden Service miss Geraldine Largay when she was within the radius of her hiking ability? i.e., 2 miles from her PLS and only 2100 ft off the trail ?
    How long was she alive while the MWS was chasing false leads ?
    What is the relationship between the Federal Government and the State Government in cases like this?
    On the border of the AT and Federal Land, who is in charge of the search ?
    Why has the MWS been so reluctant to release details of her final location and the search in general ?
    Why did the MWS instruct the (all volunteer) Maine Association of Search and Rescue to keep mum about their experience with this search?
    Why has the Medical Examiner's office refused to answer any questions from the press?

    Sorry Bob, but this is way more than "a hiker got lost and never came home."

    A lost hiker--Geraldine Largay-- was not found by what is supposed to be the Best SAR organization in the lower 48. The MWS was supposedly aided by some of the Navy's most elite enlisted soldiers in a SERE training-- though whether or not SERE actually participated has yet to be confirmed.

    A hiker got lost and was never found and then her remains were found on Federal property.

    A hiker got lost and ever came home but was alive long enough to have starved to death.

    I don't think there was foul play on the part of anyone involved. I do think there was a grave dereliction of duty on the part of the MWS. They were the lead in this search and subsequent investigation. and if in fact SERE participated, SERE would've been taking orders from the MWS. If SERE did assist in the search why are they so hesitant to talk about their role in the search ? Why is there such a lack of transparency in general ?

    The questions still to be answered is was this search handled correctly ? How to explain that Geraldine was missed when she was right there ? How did SERE and the MWS work together? When and where were the searches on SERE property conducted and who was directing the search? Were SERE personnel taking orders from the MWS or vice versa? What was the relationship between the MWS and SERE like? Were students in the SERE course enlisted in the search for Geraldine or were only SERE instructors involved?

    We cannot fix any of this for Geraldine-- but we owe it to every thru hiker in the upcoming seasons to answer these questions. As we all know, any of us can get lost anywhere at any time. We deserve to know which organization will be looking for us and how they will-- or will not-- work together.

  19. #2359

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    The MWS is not responsible for the conditions encountered by the victim that caused their demise. Given your experience with SAR/R operations, where are you suggesting the MWS and volunteers did not perform at a best practice level in this event, specifically?

    The victim died of inanition, a combination of many things that may have started before the day the victim was reported missing. There are several possible explanations of why the recovery site was missed, however given there is no way to quantify them as fact they remain speculations at best. Sometimes we don't get the answers we would like, sometimes we do. Sometimes speculations drive the theories into flights of fancy. Speculation seems to be all thats left at this point among the conspiracy buffs and those who tend to blame government for a host of issues.

  20. #2360
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    It is a fact that the MWS spent most of their time, effort and resources in the first several days of the search looking in the wrong area (understand that many of these resources are volunteers and are not infinite). Their interview of the two hikers indicated that Gerry was well north of her actual location. This decision is what would ultimately determine the outcome for Gerry. I place no blame on the MWS for this, they were working with what they thought was the best information available, unfortunately it was wrong information.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

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