Missing toddler finally laid to rest

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

   FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine – A private graveside service was held Friday, July 27, for 3-year-old Alexandria Lynn Winship-Wright, the Fort Fairfield toddler who was reported missing April 25.    The blond-haired child is believed to have drowned. Law enforcement officials and volunteers concentrated their search along the Aroostook River after the girl’s boots were discovered in the area of the water not far from her home following a track performed by the Presque Isle Police Department’s K-9, Hunter, and his handler, Officer Kevin Schumacher. Eight weeks passed before the child’s body was discovered along Tinker Dam, across the border in New Brunswick.
Although foul play has been ruled out, following an autopsy performed in Canada last month, officials involved with the case indicated results of the procedure were “inconclusive.”
The girl’s mother, Mandy Wright, had reportedly left the girl in the living room of the family’s apartment while she went to another room. When the mother returned, her daughter was nowhere to be found. A massive search ensued, involving crews on foot, on the water and in the air. Planes, helicopters, boats, ATVs and divers were incorporated into the eight-week effort to locate Winship-Wright. The RCMP joined the effort from the Canadian side of the border. A digital aerial photograph eventually led officials to a ledge along the dam where the body was eventually located.
The investigation into the child’s disappearance and death is ongoing but no charges were pending at presstime. It is up to the district attorney to determine if charges are ever brought and against whom.
Friday’s service brought closure for many who’d devoted endless hours in search of the girl. Calling hours were from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Giberson-Dorsey Funeral Home on Main Street in Fort Fairfield.
Winship-Wright is survived by her mother; her father, Lee Winship; as well as two siblings, Whitney M. MacIntosh and Cassidy D. Parady; her grandparents; cousins; aunts; and uncles.