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Morning Star

Death at Baxter State Park

MILLINOCKET -- The body of a Millinocket boy was found at about 7:25 p.m., more t han 3 hours after he was reported missing Wednesday.

According to Baxter State Park’s chief ranger, Chris Drew, the body of 16 year-old Dwight Rideout was found about 2 miles below the Basins Ponds.

Rideout, a student at Stearns High School, had been hiking with a friend, 18 year-old Aaron Doody, also of Millinocket. According to park rangers, the two had become separated with Rideout lagged behind the older hiker.

Rideout left the Chimney Pond Trail and became lost in the difficult terrain, which is described as being thick with scrub and dwarf trees.

Temperatures were in the 90s at the time that the boy became separated, and black fly activity was described as high.

The teenager was said to have been in good health and physical condition.

After an extensive search by park rangers, as well as members of the Lincoln Search and Rescue team, Dirigo Search and Rescue, and the Baxter State Trail Crew, park ranger Rob Tice found a t-shirt like the one Rideout was said to be wearing. A short time later, he found the boy’s body.

An autopsy is expected to be performed today, according to a spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office.

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Dwight Rideout was an honor student at Stearns High School, a skilled tennis player, and was involved in the school’s music program.

Funeral arrangements will be made through R.L Bouchard Funderal Home in Millinocket.

Counselors from Stearns High School and the Millinocket Middle School will be available at the high school guidance office from 9:00 a.m. until noon today to assist anyone in dealing with their grief.

The death of Dwight Rideout was the second fatality in the park in the last two weeks, and the fifth search and rescue operation in the same amount of time, according to park rangers.

-- Ken Anderson 06/27/03