Body of missing hiker found


In this May 2007 photo released by Pat B. Mitchell via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 3, 2008, Meredith Emerson is seen with her dog Ella, in Flowery Branch, Ga. The 24-year-old hiker has been missing since Tuesday.

Courtesy of Pat B. Mitchell
Published: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 8:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 8:46 p.m.

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. - 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.

Hilton's attorney, Neil Smith, did not enter a plea on Hilton's behalf Monday.

Investigators say Hilton was the last person seen with Emerson on the trail before she disappeared on New Year's Day.

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