Hiker Killed in Acadia Fall Remembered as Fun-Loving, Amazing Dad
On Tuesday, March 16, Wayne Beckford, 28, a divorced father of three, and Kassandra Caceres, 30, both of Rutland, Massachusetts, arrived in Maine for a stay on Mount Desert Island. The two were last heard from that Thursday, when Kassandra used her cell phone to call home around noon, and made mention of how they'd like to hike up Cadillac Mountain within Acadia National Park.
When relatives hadn't heard from either of them by Friday afternoon and they didn't check out of their hotel as expected, a search was launched that eventually consisted of National Park Service rangers working with various volunteers from Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue (MDISAR) and two helicopters, one from the Maine Forest Service and another from the U.S. Coast Guard station in Cape Cod.
By late Saturday morning the bodies of the couple had been discovered, after the pair had presumably slid 100 feet or so down an icy and very rocky embankment, together, on the side of Dorr Mountain.
The family of Kassandra Caceres hasn't said much if anything at all to the media since the tragedy, electing to remain silent in their grief.
The family of Wayne Beckford however described him as "a fun loving brother, son, cousin, uncle, and an amazing dad to his 3 beautiful girls". Two of the girls, Jnaiyah, 12, and Kaiyah, 2, now exclusively reside with their mother Koryn Marie-Anna Beckford, Wayne's ex-wife whom he divorced about a year ago. A third child, Jayla, who was the couple's second child, died in 2014 at the age of 13 months.
“He was always just goofy,” Koryn told MassLive.com. “He was always playing jokes to make sure everybody was laughing. He just really loved his family. His kids, he really loved his kids.”
Wayne Beckford graduated from the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where he majored in automotive service. He spent hours on end working on his Honda Civic. "He loved the old cars, but really any car he could deck out and look nice," Koryn said. At the time of his death he was a manager at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Worcester.
Mr. Beckford's obituary tells us that he liked to sing, dance, play pool, swim, bowl, go to the beach, watch action movies, cook out, and play board games. Nowhere did it say anything about hiking.
Pauline Leslie, a cousin of Wayne Beckford, says that it's all been overwhelming and that the family is still awaiting answers about the couple's trip north to Maine. "Why was he out there? He doesn't know how to hike," she told WBZ in Boston.
Ms. Leslie also said that the family is concerned about the expense of transporting the body back to Massachusetts along with the funeral expenses, and of course taking care of the two daughters into the future. A GoFundMe account has been set up and as of this writing contains $12,445 in donations.
Besides his two daughters and former wife, Mr. Beckford leaves behind his parents, a brother, three sisters, and Lily, his dog.
It was Wayne Beckford's wish to be buried next to his fallen young daughter.
He always liked to make everyone happy,” his former wife said. “He was a very likable person. No matter where he was nobody had anything bad to say about him.”