A little after noontime on January 1st, 2008, twenty-four-year-old Merideth Hope Emerson arrived at the approach entrance of Blood Mountain in Georgia. Emerson spent her past life in Colorado and has since had plenty of hiking experience, however what she did not know is that Gary Michael Hilton, an active serial killer, was camping out near the Blood Mountain.
Around 11 am and before the hike, Emerson’s boyfriend Steve Segars calls her on the phone and reportedly was “terse and short” with her. This will be the last time any friends or family members would hear Meredith’s voice again. The last phone call from her boyfriend Steve arrived at 2:40 pm, but his call went to her voicemail.
Multiple hikers including Bill Clawson remembered seeing Meredith and Ella walking alongside an older gentleman who also had a dog and told police she was wearing a lavender zippered jacket and black exercise pants. Another hiker Seth Blankenship would later stumble across the crime scene where Gary Hilton attempted to abduct Emerson. Two water bottles, doggy treats, a silver hair barrette, sunglasses, and a police baton were found laying on the ground.
Once Gary Michael Hilton had Meredith Emerson captive, he began demanding her ATM pin number, which Emerson provided incorrectly many times. Three days past where Hilton attempted to pull funds out of various banks using Emerson’s debit card, but each time was unsuccessful.
Hilton also attempted to solicit other contacts for quick cash, including his ex-employer John Taber. Shortly after Meredith Emerson was abducted, Taber phoned the police claiming to have known Hilton for ten years, provided them with Hilton’s personal information and also the make and model of his car, a 2001 Chevrolet Astro passenger van.
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Police soon trace the call to John Taber from Gary Hilton to 35 Foothills Parkway in Marble Hill, at a Huddle House nearly sixty miles southwest of Blood Mountain.
The information provided by Taber would be vital in spotting and arresting Gary Hilton. Soon after the local news featured Meredith’s abduction, a good samaritan spotted Hilton’s Astro van at a gas station. He was throwing away evidence. Unfortunately, Meredith Hope Emerson was already murdered by this time.
Gary Michael Hilton talked freely about his crimes to detectives. During a four-hour interview, Hilton explains his reasoning for killing Meredith and even how “dreadful” it was to decapitate her head from her body. Gary Hilton was born in Atlanta on November 26, 1946, but moved to Hialeah, Florida when he was twelve years old. Hilton’s onetime attorney even claimed that his client helped produce a movie called Deadly Run.