At 4:00 PM on Friday July 6, Game Warden Joe McBrine received a call from Officer Darrel Hinnerman of Machias Police Department regarding a missing person. Officer Hinnerman relayed that Greg Burns of Whiting had observed on Facebook that Robert Townsend, age 51, from Machias had been missing since July 2. Burns stated he had observed Townsend driving his car on the Dodge Road in Whiting several days prior on July 3 and did not see him return.
Game Warden Joe McBrine and Game Warden Corporal Wayde Carter responded to the Whiting end of the Dodge Road and began searching. Game Warden Joey Gardner also began searching the Edmunds end of the Dodge Road. The area is a maze of old logging roads. At 7:00 PM Wardens McBrine and Carter found a single sneaker track at a four-way intersection just south of Eastern Lake. The track gave a possible direction of travel. A short distance up the gravel road several more tracks were located. Warden McBrine activated his siren several times in hopes that Townsend might hear them searching. The Game Wardens followed the tracks for about two miles when they found a freshly broken maple tree branch in the road. Foot tracks were then located along a small brook. Wardens observed where someone had kneeled down to get a drink. Warden Gardner began searching the northern end of the road where the foot tracks were located.
At about 7:30 PM, Warden Gardner located Townsend’s car stuck in a wash-out at Cranberry Brook in Edmunds Township. Wardens McBrine and Carter continued to utilize their siren and soon heard a response for help. As they rounded the next corner, they saw Townsend standing in the road. Game wardens provided Townsend with food and water. Townsend explained to the wardens that he spent the first two nights in his car. He then left a note on the dash of the car that stated he had no idea where he was and that he was going to try to walk out of the woods. Townsend said he located the abandoned Corey camp near Crane Mountain and spent the next two nights there. He said that he found a rusty can of peas that he ate the first night and a can of baked beans the following night. He hoped he would not have to spend another night because the only other that remained was Alpo dog food.
The wardens drove Townsend back to the camp to get the keys to his car. On the porch was a sign (attached photo) that Townsend had made to leave out on the road hoping someone would see it and find him. Townsend told the wardens that he heard their sirens and began walking towards them and hollered. Townsends car was pulled from the wash-out and the wardens escorted him back out to U.S. Route 1 in Whiting. His family was anxiously awaited him after missing him for four days.
Image courtesy Maine Warden Service