The sad but not unexpected news is being reported that the body of missing Meredith Emerson has been found. Gary Michael Hilton has previously been charged with kidnapping with bodily injury. Now he will be charged with her murder. Meredith Emerson, rest in peace.
The body of Buford hiker Meredith Emerson, missing since New Year’s Day in the North Georgia mountains, has been found by authorities, her family’s spokeswoman confirmed Monday night.
“We did find out just now, not that it was unexpected,” Peggy Bailey said.
She did not confirm exactly where the body was found but said, “I know it was a place where they have been looking.”
As search parties continued with a sixth day of scouring the mountains for Emerson, the man suspected of killing her faced a judge but made no comment.
Although the father of the young hiker went before cameras Monday to ask the public to “search their hearts and memories” for anything that might lead to his daughter, attorneys said that even if searchers had never found her body, Gary Michael Hilton still could have been charged with her murder.
Hilton was charged Saturday with kidnapping with bodily injury, felonies that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. (AJC)
Report: Body of Missing Georgia Hiker Found
Authorities found the body of a missing hiker Monday, hours after a judge denied bond to the man accused of kidnapping her in the mountains of northern Georgia.
A source close to the investigation, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity, said the remains of 24-year-old Meredith Emerson had been found. The disclosure came after authorities scheduled a “major announcement” in the case in Dawson County, south of where Gary Michael Hilton, 61, appeared in court.
Investigators are examining whether Emerson’s death and the disappearance of two other hikers in October in North Carolina are related.
UPDATE I: Officials: Georgia Hiker Died of Blow to Head, Later Decapitated
24 year old Meredith Emerson has been missing since New Year’s Day when she went hiking near Blood Mountain in north Georgia. Meredith Emerson went hiking with her black Labrador retriever, Ella, in Vogel State Park located at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Her vehicle was found abandoned and a water bottle and dog collar belonging to Emerson were located. Police state that she was seen talking to a 60 year old man.
If you have any information please call 706-439-6069 or 706-439-6071
Police say the man, described as 60 years old and weighing 160
pounds, was seen several times on New Year’s Day with Emerson.
Police believe the man is Gary Michael Hilton, who drives a white
Chevy Astro van with DeKalb County license plates.
Friends say Emerson went hiking with her black Labrador retriever, Ella. Her 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier was found abandoned Wednesday at the base of Blood Mountain.
Police confirmed that a water bottle and dog collar found near a
hiking trail belonged to Emerson. (NBC – Augusta)
Hiker Meredith Emerson Missing on Blood Mountain in Union County, Georgia
Search for Missing Hiker Continues
Gary Michael Hilton
UPDATE I: “Person of interest” found in search for hiker
Police in Georgia say a man wanted in connection with a 24-year-old hiker missing was found tonight at a convenience store in Atlanta’s suburbs.
Gary Michael Hilton of DeKalb County, was found by police and taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation office for questioning. The missing hiker, Meredith Emerson, wasn’t with him.
She’s originally from Longmont but has been living outside Atlanta.
UPDATE II: Police question ‘person of interest’ in Ga. hiker’s disappearance as search for woman resumes
Also on Saturday, authorities went to Forsyth County in the Atlanta suburbs, where Emerson’s black Labrador retriever named Ella was found Friday at a grocery store, Bankhead said. Authorities identified Ella using her implanted microchip, Union County investigator Kimberly Verdone said.
Officials continued Saturday with their questioning of Gary Michael Hilton, who authorities said was seen with Emerson several times Tuesday.
Police picked up Hilton at a convenience store in the Atlanta area, Verdone said. She previously described the 61-year-old man as a “person of interest,” not a suspect.
UPDATE III: Search for missing hiker narrowed
Meanwhile, the “person of interest” connected to Emerson’s disappearance is not cooperating with investigators, Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton told the Journal-Constitution earlier Saturday.
Authorities said Gary Michael Hilton, 61, remained at “an undisclosed location” and is being questioned in the disappearance of Emerson, whose dog, Ella, turned up a day earlier at a Cumming-area grocery store.
Paxton said Saturday that investigators have surveillance tape showing that Hilton had been in the area where the dog was found, but added, “We don’t have the luxury of him cooperating in the search for the woman.”
GBI officials wouldn’t confirm media reports that some of Meredith Emerson’s belongings were found in a dumpster outside this Quik Trip on Keith Bridge Road in Cumming, not far from the Kroger where Emerson’s dog was found. WSB reported that officials searched the dumpster, dusted a pay phone at the Quik Trip for fingerprints and had removed the receiver from the phone.
UPDATE IV: Police found items belonging to missing hiker Meredith Emerson in a dumpster Saturday in Cumming, GA
Police found items belonging to missing hiker Meredith Emerson in a dumpster Saturday in Cumming, outside a store where surveillance cameras captured the man investigators are calling a “person of interest” in the case.
The discovery triggered a new search for Emerson, 24, as police fanned out into a wooded area near the store searching for any clues.
The Kroger store is the same location where Emerson’s dog was found Friday night.
HELP FIND MEREDITH.COM
UPDATE V: Gary Michael Hilton Charged with Kidnapping of Meredith Emerson
A man authorities say was the last person to see a missing Georgia hiker has been charged with kidnapping with bodily injury, Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials said on Saturday.
Gary Michael Hilton, 61, is being held under a federal warrant for failing to appear on a citation, officials said.
UPDATE VI: Missing Ga. hiker, 24, believed dead
Sad but enivitable findings in the case of missing Meredith Emerson. Investigators have recovered three bloody fleece tops similar to the kind Meredith Emerson wore.
Investigators had recovered three bloody fleece tops like the kind Meredith Emerson wore and said they held out little hope of finding her alive.
“It’s gone from a search and rescue to a search and recovery,” Union County sheriff’s investigator Kimberly Verdone said.
Three bloody fleece tops believed to be Emerson’s and a bloodstained piece of a car’s seat belt were found in a trash bin beside a convenience store where Hilton had used a pay phone, the warrant stated. Hilton had attempted to vacuum and wash portions of his 2001 Chevrolet Astro van, which was found without the rear seat belt, according to the document.