Search Continues for Missing Hiker Meredith Emerson in North Georgia


24 year old Meredith Emerson went missing on New Year’s Day when she went hiking in Vogel State Park in Georgia with her black Labrador retriever, Ella. Since then, a water bottle and dog collar belonging to the missing hiker has been found. Meredith’s dog Ella has been located and a person of interest, Gary Michael Hilton has been located and questioned.

Meredith Emerson

However, still no sign of Meredith Emerson as the search continues.

UPDATE I: Gary Michael Hilton Charged with Kidnapping

UPDATE II: The Body of Missing Meredith Emerson Found Deceased

For more information and updates, go to

To discuss the case of missing Meredith Emerson, go to Scared Monkeys Forum, Missing: Meredith Emerson.

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  • Comments

    16 Responses to “Search Continues for Missing Hiker Meredith Emerson in North Georgia”

    1. Haley Rose on January 5th, 2008 8:24 pm

      I think it’s a great idea to have websites with missing persons information, and news that’s updated regularly. However, when I used one of the pictures of Yaser Said to post a myspace bulletin telling all of my friends to keep an eye out, cause we live where he’s from, it was deleted shortly after I posted the bulletin. This website really shouldn’t be so protective of the images of the victims and criminals because people NEED to be sharing them. I hope this is something you’ll consider changing. Thanks.

    2. jaco on January 6th, 2008 4:15 am

      My heart goes out to the family and friends of Meredith Emerson. I am so sad that this is the world we now live in. We are not safe anywhere. A person has the right to go for a hike, go to the mall, go on a vacation, or just be at home without worrying about someone committing a crime against them. Unfortunately that is not the world we live in today.
      May God be with you Meredith.

    3. nurturer on January 6th, 2008 11:36 am

      Perhaps simply the ‘threat’ of a good waterboarding, will make this guy give up what he knows.

    4. Janie on January 6th, 2008 3:21 pm

      Since I went to school in Blairsville (lived there for 4 yrs.), I know the area and Vogel State Park. I live in Atlanta now and know the area where the dog, Hilton and the ATM site in Canton. And, I have a 25 yr. old daughter. This story has really botherd me.

      I believe that Gary Hilton struck Meredith in the head with the baton as she was close to her car / his van. He probably parked next to her (after seeing her get out of her car with her dog) and assumed she was an easy target. He got her close/at his van probably telling her to look at something in his van, then he hit her with the baton. He put her in his van along with her dog. He couldn’t leave the dog as that would draw attention. This would explain why her things were there and his baton was there. He left in a hurry.

      There are rumors that he was sighted at Vogel again on Weds. That would fit since he would go back to get the baton that he left. Thank goodness that former police officer picked up those items. The police have video surveillance at an ATM in Canton where Meredith’s ATM card was trying to be used. Canton is close to Cumming, where the dog and bloody items were found. Canton is a little over an hour away from Vogel, and a short distance to Cumming. Also, Ducktown, TN is an hour away from Vogel. Ducktown is where the Byrants’ (elderly couple – hikers that disappeared/killed in Oct. 2007 in Pisgah Forrest Park in NC) ATM card was used (person in a yellow jacket that fits Hilton’s description). Hilton was wearing a yellow jacket on New Yrs. Day when he was seen with Meredith.

      With all that said, I don’ think Meredith will be found close to Vogel. But, he could have placed her anywhere – north, south, east or west. Her bloody fleece tops did not have signs of trauma – blow to the head would explain and the blood. Also, Irene Bryant was killed by a blow to the head. I think Meredith died quickly and this would explain why he didn’t get access to her account since he didn’t have her ATM PIN/pw.

      I believe he came to Atlanta on Friday to clean his van and then switch it out with the other van he owned (also white). He dumped the bloody items earlier in Cumming. I don’t know if he meant for the dog to leave the van. I think to dog jumped out of the van when Hilton was dumping the items. (The gas station/dumpster was across the street from the Krogers where the dog was found.) I heard the dog WALKED in the Kroger store – he had smelled the death of Meredith and knew to get away.

      Hopefully, the police will break him and he will confess. John Bryant’s body has not been found.

      One more item… a 29 yr. old female disappeared in Athens, GA on Monday, New Years Eve. She was seen walking her dog at a dog park earlier. This is the day before Meredith went to Vogel. Athens is approx. 1 hr. 15 mins. away from Vogel State Park.

    5. Miklo on January 6th, 2008 4:23 pm

      The authorities ought to question that freak about the disappearance of Tara Grinstead as well!!

    6. brie on January 6th, 2008 7:06 pm

      Wonder what kind of a criminal record Hilton has. Previous self offender or rapist given payroll!

      The dog was smart enough to go a place where they are alot people and food. Someone can help me there!

      An innocent young person taking a hike with her dog. Why would anyone think that would not be safe?

      Take Hilton to the mountain, tie him to a tree and leave!!! Oh, give a dog biscuit!

    7. caroline on January 7th, 2008 4:58 am

      Does any one have any idea wich colour the fleece tops that they found was??

    8. Sahara on January 7th, 2008 10:26 am

      Sad story. Good police work. No body, no case? Not here pal.

    9. brenda on January 7th, 2008 12:52 pm

      Doubtful this guy will cooperate. This guy didn’t “just walk up to her”….they had been seen speaking to one anther. So, this is yet one more case of a trusting (honest) young woman smooth-talked into having a friendly conversation with a manipulating killer.

      Ladies, to not trust ANYONE these days. Especially those who appear to be “extra nice”. I sure don’t. The nicer they guy tried to be, the more I am prone to shun them away. In this day and age, I have NOOOOO problem being viewed as a b1tch if it means I am a living and breathing b1tch!!!

    10. da_wench on January 7th, 2008 7:18 pm

      #9 I’m a bitch with two pit bulls. I take them with me to the lakes and hiking trails in Colorado and I don’t have to worry about anyone trying to strike up friendly conversation with me. Just looking at them most people walk the other way. Of couse my dogs are the sweetest, most loving pets ever, but they can smell bad intentions and I trust their judgment. I can’t take them everywhere and I know having a big scary dog is not the answer for everyone, but it works for me.

    11. brenda on January 8th, 2008 9:37 am

      Good for you Da Wench! When I am on my mountain land (243 acres up against Jefferson National Forrest), I carry my .357 Colt Trooper on my side (cross-draw) where it can be seen….and NO one bothers me. I like the idea of the dogs though.

      20 years ago when we first started managing the family land and before we inherited the mountain, whenever I would go through the National Forrest gate to access the mountain, people would always stop ion their vehicles to ask about getting permission to come in behind me to hunt, hike, whatever. I would always say no (of course), but once I started wearing the gun openly, NO one and I mean NO ONE has stopped to ask. Funny how that works :>)

    12. da_wench on January 8th, 2008 4:40 pm

      11 – ^5 to you Brenda! We have to do what we have to do to protect ourselves and I don’t see anything wrong with carrying a firearm as long as the person has been properly trained and licensed. I never allowed guns in my house when I had children but my new housemate has about 60 firearms (mostly WWII rifles). He’s a JeffCo Sheriff and I couldn’t feel safer in my home with the dogs, a cop and more guns than you can shake a stick at…lol.

    13. TERRI on January 8th, 2008 5:47 pm

      Shoot the bastard. He cut her head off. Give me a gun and I’ll kill him, sick sob

    14. BOB on January 8th, 2008 7:05 pm

      I say let her family do with him what they will…if they want to cut his arms off and beat him to death with his own limbs let them. Any person who can take the life of an innocent person is less than human, and should be treated accordingly. The police should crawfish on his plea deal and hang him in the street for all the people to see…that would be a good future reference for anyone who is thinking of commiting a random act of violence.

    15. da_wench on January 8th, 2008 8:18 pm

      There will be a long drawn out trial and then MH like sit on death row for years and years. At least capital punishment is legal in Georgia. Texas holds the record for executions at 405 (with 393 prisoners on death row) as of October, 2007. Georgia has 40 executions on record as of that date with 107 on death row, some of which have been awaiting their sentence since August of 2000. What takes so long? I need to read more about it I guess. I understand there’s an appeal process but 7 1/2 years? Give me a break! The families should not have to wait that long. It’s bad enough that they have to endure a trial. Fry Michael Hilton, Fry!!!

    16. grizzly bear on January 8th, 2008 8:31 pm

      this is what happens when we let white men talk to white women… did he have money? a job? was he good looking? why else would she talk to him? (this is obviously a joke) see how silly this sounds?

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