Thursday, December 12, 2013
CARRYING PLACE TOWNSHIP -- Maine State police on Monday said the body found by hikers Friday morning on the Appalachian Trail in northern Franklin County was that of 51-year-old Michael Guerette, of Cherry Grove, N.Y., one of several small towns on Fire Island.
Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said police are investigating the death as "unexplained." Early reports said Guerette may have fallen and stuck his head.
The body was spotted in an area between Long Falls Dam and Bog roads, about a mile up the Appalachian Trail from Long Falls Dam Road. The area is about 15 miles north of New Portland, where Long Falls Dam Road begins.
Results from an autopsy Monday morning are pending from the State Medical Examiner's Office, McCausland said. He said Guerette was hiking alone on a Maine portion of the Appalachian Trail for the past two weeks.
"He was unresponsive when they found him, and died there where they found him," McCausland said. "We don't know the circumstances of the death and await the medical examiner's findings."
Craig L. Williams, assistant chief and training officer for the Cherry Grove Fire Department said Guerette was a member of the fire department. Special services for Guerette have been scheduled for noon Sunday at the Cherry Grove fire house, he said.
Guerette owned Garden Grove, a garden store in Cherry Grove, according to Mike Lavers, managing editor of the Fire Island News.
"When we found out about this happening we were quite shocked and really upset," Lavers said Monday. "He was one of the year-rounders out on Fire Island for a long time. He was a gardener and a lot of folks knew him and really respected him and really liked him."
In an email to the Morning Sentinel on Monday, Diane Romano, president and chief operating officer at Hudson Yards, a redevelopment project in New York City, said Guerette was a master gardener who helped create her garden during the last 15 years.
"Michael ... was an artist who created beautiful gardens," Romano said. "He loved the earth, loved to camp out and sleep under the stars. He had a beautiful singing voice without ever having formal lessons ... he sang at my birthday party last year and brought me and others to tears."
Doug Harlow -- 612-2367