May 4, 2011

Smithfield man found dead after daylong search

Chopper pilot spots body in swamp

By Doug Harlow
Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD — The body of a Smithfield man who had been missing for a day was found Tuesday afternoon in woods about a half-mile from his East Pond Road home.

click image to enlarge

Game warden Terry Hughes speaks with Joanne Beauleau outside the home of her neighbor Phillip Golding as a massive search was under way for Golding on Tuesday. Wardens later found his body a half-mile away in the woods.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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The Franklin Search and Rescue team from Kingfield listen to instructions by Barry London before entering the woods near the East Pond Road in Smithfield on Tuesday to search for Phillip Golding, whose body was found later.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Additional Photos Below

Phillip Golding, who would have turned 87 on Tuesday, was last seen by a neighbor about 8:30 a.m. Monday. The Maine Warden Service, dozens of other trained rescue personnel, and volunteers combed the swampy woods all night Monday and Tuesday morning. The body was spotted from a helicopter about 12:45 p.m., according to Lt. Kevin Adam, state search-and-rescue coordinator for the Maine Warden Service.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and the time of death, Adam said. Foul play is not suspected, he added.

"The Maine Forest Service spotted something; they called us and we sent in a couple of game wardens and we found the body of Phillip, deceased," Adam said outside the command center at the Smithfield fire station. "His death was in time with when he went missing. I don't think there's anything unusual."

Ranger Pilot John Knight was flying the helicopter based in Old Town and he was assisted by Ranger Shane Nichols of Caratunk, according to Lt. Jeffrey Currier of the Maine Forest Service, Department of Conservation.

Adam said the woods off Quaker Lane and unpaved Thomas Lane, where the body was found, are swampy, with grown alders and fallen trees typical of Maine woods. He said the body would not have been easily seen from the ground.

Golding was taking medication for "typical old age" symptoms, such as blood pressure and heart, but did not exhibit any signs of dementia, Adam said.

During the height of the search there were 19 game wardens, state troopers with tracking dogs, three searchers on horseback, 20 members of the Smithfield Fire Department and 32 certified searchers who were called in by the warden service. An additional 29 civilian volunteers signed up to assist.

"This is a normal response for a search of this kind, where you have an individual who shouldn't be missing, and is," Adam said.

Smithfield neighbors of the Golding family, including 19-year-old Mackenzie Smith and Michelle Coxen-Glover, a retired registered nurse, were among the many people who signed up as volunteer searchers.

"I would want someone to volunteer if my family member was missing, so here I am," Coxen-Glover said.

Smith echoed that feeling.

"I just feel really bad for the family," she said. "I just know if that was my family, I would want as many people helping as they could."

The search for Golding began Monday during the day and stretched into the night as aircraft and a helicopter crew used infrared sensors that can detect body heat.

The Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency set up a communications center for wardens to coordinate the search from the Smithfield fire station. Somerset County Emergency Management crews were training Tuesday in southern Maine and were unavailable, he said.

Search and rescue squads were on scene from Franklin and Waldo counties as was a Community Emergency Response Team from Somerset County.

Many of the search personnel used GPS devices to guide them through the thick woods. Adam said the warden service relies on what he called professional searchers when there is a missing person.

"They are certified through the Maine Association of Search and Rescue and we use them extensively on searches because they know how to navigate by GPS," Adam said. "They're trained in crime scene preservation; they're trained to look for clues, so we know that we can give them an assignment and they go off and do it. We don't have to worry about them."

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Additional Photos

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A Maine forest Service helicopter flies low over Thomas Lane in Smithfield shortly before the body of Phillip Golding was spotted in the dense woods on Tuesday.

Staff photo by David Leaming


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