BELFAST — Police Chief Gerry Lincoln announced in a press release Tuesday, Oct. 26, that the Office of Chief Medical Examiner has identified a body pulled from the waters of Belfast Bay Monday afternoon as that of city resident Joy MacDonald, 40, who had been missing for more than six weeks.

Employees of Front Street Shipyard alerted Belfast Police Monday at approximately 2:50 p.m. about what they believed to be a body in the water near the footbridge. Police responded and found a body in the water at the location described by the workers.

Belfast Police notified Maine State Police and the Medical Examiner’s Office. The body was removed from the water and transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy and identification.

Joy MacDonald Source: Facebook

Over the weekend, the search for MacDonald had continued, with the aid of a scent dog. MacDonald’s sister Jenny Presley told The Republican Journal Oct. 25 that searchers scoured all over the bay, as far south as Lincolnville and as far west as Sears Island. Her car was located on Pierce Street by the Armistice Bridge, where police said it appeared to have been for some time.

After two days of searching with K-9s along the rail trail and with sonar on the water, police told Presley there was not much more that they could do. Undeterred, Presley contacted Down East Emergency Medical Institute, a local search-and-rescue operation, which provided a scent dog over the weekend.

The dog was able to track MacDonald’s scent to the middle of the footbridge, “then nothing,” Presley said. The spot, she wrote in a Facebook post, is where “we believe Joy went over.”

The dog also pointed to a spot under the bridge, but nowhere else. Presley said the dog was following a live person scent, not a cadaver scent, which gave her hope that Joy could possibly have been swept down into the water, then climbed out.

MacDonald, 40, mistakenly entered a Congress Street home Sept. 9, telling the homeowner she was supposed to meet someone there. According to Presley, her sister seemed “very much like herself, she was just in a strange place.”