A missing Appalachian Trail hiker whose remains were discovered last year kept a journal of her ordeal and left behind a series of haunting messages to her husband.
Geraldine Largay survived at least 26 days in the wilderness after getting lost on the trail in July 2013. Text messages sent to her husband went undelivered and the 66-year-old woman accepted the fact that she was going to die, according to newly released investigatory documents obtained by the Associated Press.
“When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry,” Largay wrote in the journal. “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.”
More than two years later, in October 2015, a contractor stumbled upon Largay’s remains hidden under her collapsed tent near a U.S. Navy-owned property in Maine’s Redington Township, according to the AP. A medical examiner determined that the woman died of starvation and exposure.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine’s Mount Katahdin was a bucket list item for Largay, her husband told officials, according to ABC News.
The Brentwood, Tennessee, native had gotten lost after straying from the trail to relieve herself and set up camp. She began the trip with a partner, but the other hiker left the trail due to a family emergency, ABC reports.
Haunting text messages she tried to send to her husband after she had gotten lost were retrieved from her phone after her body was found.
“In somm trouble,” she texted the day she left the trail on July 22. “Got off trail to go to br. Now lost. Can you call AMC to c if a trail maintainer can help me. somewhere north of woods road.”
She pleaded for help again one day later.
“Lost since yesterday. Off trail 3 or 4 miles. Call police for what to do pls,” she wrote in the text.
Her husband reported her missing on July 24 and a massive search ensued. Officials with the Maine Warden Service and other agencies interviewed dozens of witnesses and continued to search over the next two years, ABC reports.
As the search began, Largay continued to write, penning letters to her family and urging those who would find her remains to send her belongings to her husband and daughter.
The last entry in Largay’s journal was dated Aug. 18.
A little more than a year after Largay’s disappearance, questions remained unanswered, but Largay’s husband had come to terms with his wife’s fate.
“I no longer wake up thinking about Gerry’s disappearance every morning,” George told the Boston Globe in December 2014. “Now it takes a holiday or an anniversary or a certain Neil Diamond song on the radio.”