DIXFIELD — A kind man who made friends with everyone he met lost his life over the weekend.
Joey Mann, 46, of Dixfield was reported missing Saturday morning after he was last seen in Greene at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Mann was riding his snowmobile south to meet with his two brothers for races on Sabattus Lake on Saturday, Darlene Mease, a close friend, said.
Maine Game Warden David Chabot said Mann’s body was found Sunday morning in the Androscoggin River after his snowmobile fell through the ice.
The Maine Warden Service, Maine Forest Service, Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office and volunteers from a Lewiston snowmobile club, the Hillside Family Riders, were involved in the rescue search.
“It was actually a volunteer from the club who located Mann’s body,” Chabot said.
Mann was seen several times on Friday night asking for directions and talking to anyone who crossed his path, Chabot said.
A news release from the Maine Warden Service said those who Mann had contact with said he seemed confused. Chabot said Mann had learning disabilities.
Chabot also said Mann was not familiar with the area and that may have been the reason he went through the ice below the Center Bridge Road Bridge in Turner.
“He was not familiar with the area and must have been being safe and slow,” he said. “The ice just swallowed him.”
Chabot said several riders passed the spot throughout Saturday without noticing Mann’s body or the hole.
“Most go about 80 mph through that area,” he said.
Chabot expressed concern for riders in Maine this winter saying the varying temperatures were making the ice unreliable.
“It’s been a unique year, and I cannot stress enough that riders need to be safe and use all caution,” he said.
Mease, who owns a farm on the Common Road in Dixfield, had allowed Mann to live with her since he was 18 after leaving his foster home in Peru. Mease said he helped out on the farm and worked for other farmers in the area.
“He had a heart and was a very special man,” she said. “He would do anything for anyone.”
Mease said Mann enjoyed snowmobiling and loved the snow.
Brenda and David Gammon, who own a farm in Peru, shared fond memories of the time Mann spent with them.
David Gammon said he had known Mann since childhood.
“Every time Dave would call him, he would come over to help no matter the job or the weather,” Brenda Gammon said. “Joey would joke around with the kids about who was working the hardest and who could do the most. We had a lot of fun together.”