Gary Michael Hilton, the National Forest Serial Killer, is known to have murdered four people. But his crimes and travels make it hard to believe there weren’t earlier victims. Are there more waiting to be discovered?

Who is Gary Michael Hilton?

Gary Michael Hilton, sometimes referred to as the National Forest Serial Killer, was a drifter who murdered at least four hikers in and around national forests in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina between 2005 and 2008.

Hilton was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in January 2008 for the murder of Meredith Emerson, 24. After that conviction, investigators across the country began looking into unsolved cases that were similar to Emerson’s, and Hilton was charged with and found guilty of three more killings. In 2011, he received the death penalty in a Florida court for the slaying of Cheryl Dunlap, 46. In March 2012, he plead guilty to the murders of John Bryant, 80, and Irene Bryant, 84 and a North Carolina court sentenced him to four consecutive life sentences.

Emerson, Dunlap, and the Bryants shared no specific victimology, instead it appears he chose them at random when he needed money. Investigators agree that his were crimes of opportunity, and they believe Hilton may have committed more murders across the southeast United States in the years before his four known victims were killed.

Hilton was born November 26, 1946. He had an unstable home life and varied criminal record that stretched from childhood until he was arrested for Emerson’s murder at the age of 61. In 1959, when he was just 13, Hilton reportedly shot his stepfather in a jealous rage over his mother. His stepfather didn’t press charges, but Hilton did spend some time in a mental hospital after the shooting.

At 17, Hilton joined the army, and he served from 1964 through 1967, including a tour in West Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1967 after he had been hospitalized for hearing voices and diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Hilton was married at least three times, but none of his marriages were long—the longest was just two years. He isn’t believed to have any children. His third wife was a security officer at Stone Mountain Park, a 3,000 acre park near Atlanta that offers camping, hiking, wooded trails, lakes, and family attractions, including the massive peak at its center that is carved with the likenesses of Confederate soldiers.

Hilton loved the outdoors. He hiked, camped, and frequently lived in forests and mountains around the south and southeast United States. He loved dogs, too, and had a dog named Dandy (sometimes reported as a golden retriever, other times described as red in color).

He never had steady employment; after leaving the army, he worked as a chauffeur in Florida from 1970 to 1972, and he was arrested in 1995 for stealing books he was hired to sell from a door-to-door sales company. From 1997 to 2007, he worked off and on handing out advertisements and doing odd jobs for a Gwinnett County, GA, siding company, but he permanently lost that job when he threatened to kill the company owner if he didn’t pay him $10,000.

Hilton also had ongoing legal troubles. He was convicted of a DUI in Florida in 1973; in 1983, he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed gun and a drug charge; he was found guilty of theft and marijuana possession in 1987; and he plead guilty to 21 counts of solicitation in 1995.

Samuel Rael, an attorney and filmmaker in Atlanta, admitted that in 1995 Hilton helped him develop the plot for the movie Deadly Run. The movie is about a man who stalks, hunts, and murders women in the woods, a storyline that has similarities to Hilton’s crimes. Rael had defended him in court multiple times since the mid-1980s for crimes ranging from arson and trespassing to solicitation of false charitable donations. Rael said Hilton, whom he considered a consultant on the project, came up with the idea of the main character releasing women into the woods to be hunted like prey and that he also helped select that cast and found the cabin in the woods near Cleveland, Georgia, where much of the movie was filmed. Meredith Emerson’s remains were found approximately 30 miles from that same cabin 13 years later. Investigators have said that Hilton was not considered a suspect in any murders or disappearances during the time the movie was being filmed.

Confirmed Victims

Victims are listed in the order of their disappearances and murders. However, his final victim, Meredith Emerson, was the first to be linked to Hilton. His implication in her murder helped solve the others.

Irene Bryant, 84, and John Bryant, 80, disappeared after driving 20 miles from their home to hike and look at fall colors in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest on October 21, 2007. The couple had been married for 58 years and loved traveling, hiking, and being outdoors. Their active lifestyle meant that they were sometimes hard to reach, and it took time for their neighbors and family to realize they were missing. Their son Bob reported them missing on November 2. He drove from his home in Texas to North Carolina to help search for his parents and discovered their vehicle at a trailhead parking lot. Investigators subpoenaed telephone and financial records and discovered that Irene had tried to call 911 around 4 p.m. on October 21 but the call didn’t go through. They couldn’t confirm whether the call failed due to lack of service or interference by another person. Financial records showed a bank withdrawal from their account at 7 p.m. the day after Irene attempted the 911 call. Security footage at the bank in Ducktown, Tennessee, 25 miles away from their vehicle, showed a slender man man in a hooded raincoat using the Bryant’s ATM card. Investigators couldn’t identify the person, but it was neither of the Bryants.

Irene’s body was found on November 9, covered with leaves and sticks, just 100 yards from where the couple’s vehicle was parked. She had been killed by a blow to the head and her arms and legs appeared to have also been beaten. Investigators speculated that her attacker had lain in wait on the trail or in the woods just beyond the parking lot.

John’s skeletal remains weren’t found until February 5, 2008 when a hunter stumbled across them.

On October 26, 2007, Hilton was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy while trespassing on private hunting land. Hilton tells the deputy he’s a paratrooper on field maneuvers, and, when asked if he’s carrying any weapons, he shows the officer an expandable police baton. The officer checks for open warrants and then lets him go. However, Hilton did have an open warrant for a minor 1972 offense in Miami, and he should have been detained.

In March 2012, Hilton plead guilty to murdering the Bryants, and he admitted to camping out in the parking lot, scouting for victims. Hilton admitted he had kidnapped Bryant from the parking lot, drove him to the Nantahala National Forest, walked him 30 feet down an embankment, and shot him in the head. It’s believed Hilton wasn’t certain he could control both victims at once, so he chose to kill Irene at the location and then use her death to intimidate and scare John into cooperating and giving him the couple’s ATM PIN number.

In the days before the Bryants’ murders, other hikers reported seeing, talking to, and even photographing and confronting Hilton in the Pisgah National Forest in the area where the Bryants were murdered. Along with pleading guilty of ambushing and killing the Bryants, Hilton also plead to robbery and firearms offenses in their case. He again accepted a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and was remanded to serve four additional life sentences consecutively with the life sentence already handed down for Emerson’s murder.

The Bryants are Hilton’s first known victims, although he was sentenced in their cases after being tried for his later crimes.

Cheryl Hodges Dunlap, 46, was a mother of two grown sons and a nurse and Sunday school teacher, She was last seen alive on December 1, 2007. She had gone hiking alone in Apalachicola National Forest in the Florida panhandle just outside Tallahassee at about 9 a.m. Friends reported her missing after she failed to show up to teach her Sunday school class on December 2 or arrive at work on Monday morning, December 3. Three days after she disappeared her car was found with a flat tire, parked on the shoulder of Highway 319 just outside of the national forest. A search of the area revealed nothing of use. However, an investigation into her digital footprint discovered bank withdrawals.

A little over a week after she went missing, authorities released surveillance photos of a man successfully using Dunlap’s ATM card to withdraw money on December 2, 3, and 4, the three days immediately following her disappearance. Police could not identify him because he was wearing a rubber mask, gloves, and hat. Detectives staked out the ATM machine for the next week, but the man never returned.

Dunlap’s decapitated remains were discovered near Bloxham Cutoff Road in the Apalachicola National Forest on December 15 by hunters who noticed the presence of buzzards. Because her head and hands were missing, it took a DNA sample to confirm that the remains were hers.

Hilton was proven to be in the area when and where Dunlap disappeared because a forestry agent had run his vehicle tag number through the police database on December 7. After Dunlap’s body was found, a hunter also reported coming into contact with Hilton in the forest—driving a white van, wielding a knife and appearing disheveled or homeless. The hunter said he’d warned Hilton that the woods was a bad place to be during hunting season. This interaction allowed the hunter to identify Hilton in a photo lineup. A forestry agent had also questioned Hilton on November 17, 2007 and run his white van’s tag number through a database to ensure it wasn’t stolen. On December 28, another forestry agent interacted with Hilton in Osceola National Forest, about 160 miles from where Dunlap was last seen. Those sightings proved Hilton had been in the area before and then left after Dunlap’s murder. The final item of proof was one of Dunlap’s boots, which Hilton was attempting to discard in the dumpster with Emerson’s belongings when he was initially arrested.

Investigators believed Hilton kidnapped Dunlap from the Leon Sinks Geological Area of Apalachicola National Forest, where friends said she had mentioned going to read a book. He likely kept her alive for a few days in order to get money from her ATM card, finally killing her. Investigators say he burned her head and hands in his campfire, then left her vehicle by the road after puncturing the tire with his police baton. There was no physical evidence tying him to the crime, but investigators were able to recover audio tapes on which Hilton had recorded himself talking crudely about women and referencing killing women and hiding things. He said he was a sociopath who could disassociate from the act of murder.

Hilton was indicted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 for Dunlap’s murder, kidnapping, and two counts of grand theft. He was found guilty by a unanimous jury in February 2011 and sentenced to death. He unsuccessfully appealed the conviction.

Dunlap was Hilton’s third known victim; he was sentenced in her case after being tried and found guilty for murdering his last-known victim, Meredith Emerson.

Meredith Emerson, 24, was last seen alive on New Year’s Day 2008, with her dog, a black Labrador retriever mix named Ella. The pair had left home in Buford, Georgia, to hike one of their favorite trails on Blood Mountain. The location is the highest peak in Georgia’s section of the Appalachian Trail and is located on the border of Lumpkin and Union counties inside the Blood Mountain Wilderness and the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Concerned after she didn’t return home, Emerson’s friends and boyfriend reported her absence to local police. She was classified as an overdue hiker. The next day, friends and authorities searched the area where Emerson and Ella had been hiking but did not find either of them. A winter storm moved in that day, and authorities had to halt the search.

After her disappearance made news, witnesses came forward to claim that they’d seen her hiking with an older man, approximately 60 years old with a red dog, on a spur trail that connects the Appalachian Trail to the Byron Herbert Reece Parking Lot. One caller was a former police officer. He reported that while hiking he’d discovered a police baton, water bottles, sunglasses, a barrette, and a dog leash and treats scattered over an area of disturbed and scuffed ground. He had seen an older man with a police baton walking with a younger woman minutes before finding the items, and he recognized the leash as the one the young woman had been holding. At first, he’d thought they were father and daughter, but the scattered belongings and evidence of a struggle concerned him. While there, he talked with another group of hikers who had seen the man hiding in the woods, but they were unable to locate him after a short search. They gathered the scattered items and left them at a local store, but they didn’t call police at the time. The next day after seeing a report on TV about Emerson’s disappearance, the former officer called investigators to report what he’d seen and found the day before.

Also on January 2, John Tabor, a former employer of Hilton’s, called police to let them know Hilton matched the description of the man seen with Emerson on the trail. He said Hilton had called him a few hours before and had apologized for acting erratically and violently toward him, asked him for money, and told him he was near Blood Mountain. He’d asked Tabor to leave him a check at a business Tabor owned, but he never came to collect the check. Investigators noted that Tabor hadn’t called them immediately to inform them of Hilton’s similarity to the suspect or his proximity to the possible kidnapping.

Police also recovered surveillance images of Hilton unsuccessfully attempting to use Emerson’s ATM card. Investigators had hope that Emerson was still alive and they were now sure she was with Hilton, so they disseminated Hilton’s DMV photo to the media.

On January 4, another witness called police to report that he had encountered an older man and young woman camping near a white van. The witness was driving a lawn care truck when he got it stuck in a stream. He asked the older man for help, but he’d refused. The witness said it seemed like the man was trying to keep him away from the van. When the witness called police dispatch to ask for help getting his vehicle unstuck, the man quickly packed up and left the area in a seeming rush.

That same day, Ella was found wandering in a grocery store parking lot in the town of Cumming, Georgia, about 60 miles away from Emerson’s last-known whereabouts. Investigators also discovered bloody clothing, bloody men’s boots, and Emerson’s purse and wallet in a dumpster across the street from the store where Ella was located. A boot, later confirmed to belong to Hilton’s third victim, Cheryl Dunlap, was also recovered from the dumpster.

Later that evening, a witness called 911 to report that Hilton—whom he recognized as the suspect in Emerson’s disappearance from news reports—was at a local gas station cleaning out a white van. Police arrived and prevented Hilton from using a vacuum cleaner and bleach on the van’s interior; they also discovered bloody clothing and blankets he had attempted to discard in the gas station trash receptacles. Blood in the vehicle was later matched to Emerson, and Hilton was charged with her murder.

During almost five hours of interrogations, Hilton admitted that Emerson fought back against him when he attacked her, yelling and using her martial arts skills to fend him off (she’d earned a blue belt in aikido and was posthumously awarded a black belt). He said that she almost got away, but that he was finally able to subdue her when she lost her footing and stumbled. He said he’d chosen to attack her because she was a woman, and that they’d hiked together for a while before she outpaced him. He then stopped and waited for her down the trail, planning to rob her of her ATM card when she was returning to her vehicle. He admitted to taking Emerson from the parking lot in his van, returning at her request a few minutes later to pick up Ella, who had initially been left behind. He drove her to multiple banks and unsuccessfully attempted to use her ATM; police believed she was intentionally giving him wrong PIN numbers to buy time. Unfortunately, no one at the banks or law enforcement noticed the failed transactions or attempted use of Emerson’s ATM cards until January 4.

Eventually Hilton gave up and drove Emerson to a secluded location where, for three days, she continued to give him incorrect ATM PIN codes in an apparent attempt to give rescuers time to find her. Hilton told investigators that he tired of waiting for the correct PIN number, so he told Emerson he was taking her home; however, he admitted that he knew he couldn’t release her since she’d seen his face and vehicle and knew so much about him. Instead, while she was tied to a tree, he hit her over the head repeatedly with a car jack handle to kill her, and then he decapitated her. He covered her body with leaves, then drove to another wooded area more than an hour away, where he discarded her head. He said he was unable to kill Ella and decided to let her go. Disturbingly, in that same interview, when asked about whether it was hard for him to kill Emerson, Hilton stated, “It was hard … you gotta remember we had spent several good days together.”

Hilton offered to lead investigators to Emerson’s body if they’d agree to remove the death penalty option. An autopsy confirmed Hilton’s story: her cause of death was officially listed as blunt force trauma to the head, and she’d been decapitated postmortem.

He plead guilty to Emerson’s murder on January 30, 2008, and he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

The case was in the news again in 2010 when a writer for Hustler magazine submitted a request for crime scene photos for use in an article about Emerson’s kidnapping and murder. A judge blocked the request, preventing the Georgia Bureau of Investigation from releasing “any and all photographs, visual images or depictions of Meredith Emerson which show Emerson in an unclothed or dismembered state.” The Georgia House also passed The Meredith Emerson Memorial Privacy Act, preventing “gruesome crime scene photos from being publicly released or disseminated.” The Act, House Bill 1322, stops the release of all images in which victims of crimes appear “nude, bruised, bloodied or in a broken state with open wounds, a state of dismemberment or decapitation.”

Hilton’s involvement in Emerson’s kidnapping and murder drew the attention of investigators in other states. While she is believed to be his last victim, the successful investigation into her case resulted in his guilty pleas and sentencing for three other murders. A series of other unsolved crimes is also being investigated for ties to Hilton.

Possible Victims

Melissa Witt, 19, disappeared from the parking lot of a local bowling alley in Fort Smith, Arkansas on December 1, 1994. On January 13, 1995, her body was found by hunters in a rural area of the same county from where she disappeared. She was naked, and her remains were near a rock that’s been described as headstone-like. Her clothing was never located. Some investigators believe that there are similarities between Witt’s disappearance and death and those of Hilton’s known victims.

Judy Smith, 50, is considered a possible victim of Hilton’s because her remains were found near the location where Hilton would bludgeon Irene Bryant a decade later. Smith was last confirmed to have been seen by her husband, Jeffrey, at a Philadelphia hotel on April 10, 1997. The couple flew from their home in Newton, Massachusetts to Philadelphia the day before so that Jeffrey could attend a work conference. After arriving at the airport, Judy discovered she had left her identification at home and would not be able to board the plane. She returned home to retrieve her ID and took a later flight, meeting Jeffrey at their hotel. She planned to go sightseeing while Jeffrey was attending the conference, and Jeffrey confirmed she’d been alive and in their room that next morning. That evening, after the conference meetings had ended for the day, Jeffery could not find Judy. He searched for her and tried to report her missing around midnight, but investigators told him he needed to wait 24 hours.

During the ensuing investigation, there were a number of sightings of a woman matching Judy’s description in and around Philadelphia, several of which seemed to describe a person experiencing psychological problems or acting disoriented or disturbed. Other possible sightings were of a woman matching Judy’s description riding the bus, shopping at a mall, and sitting outside a gourmet grocery store. The Smith family found some of the descriptions and sightings credible.

On September 7, 1997, about five months after Smith was last confirmed to have been seen, hunters in the Pisgah National Forest about 9 miles from Asheville, North Carolina discovered scattered bones around a shallow grave. Some clothing and personal effects were also located. Cut marks and punctures found on the ribs and clothing suggested the victim had been stabbed. The remains were confirmed to be those of Judy Smith. Strangely, the clothes she was discovered wearing were not any she was known to have owned or reported by witnesses, and the family has no explanation for why or how she got to or was in Asheville. Later reports found that people in the Asheville area had seen Judy or a woman who resembled her. The sightings were deemed credible, but no one claimed to have seen Judy with anyone else. Money and jewelry was found near Judy’s body and belongings, so robbery was ruled out as a motive. Investigators came to believe Smith traveled to Asheville voluntarily, but they’re unsure of why or what happened to her while there. Hilton has been suggested as a possible suspect, but investigators have not publicly linked him to Smith’s case or named as a suspect.

Levi Frady, 11, was abducted from Little Mill Road in Forsyth County, Georgia, on October 22, 1997. The next day his remains were found partially submerged in a rainwater-filled pit in Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area in Dawson County, Georgia. He had been shot three times, once in the chest and twice in the head. Investigators consider Frady’s case open and active. Some have hinted Hilton is considered a suspect, but he has not been publicly named.

In April 1998, Jason Knapp, 20, disappeared. He was a student at Clemson University, and he was last known to have been seen by his roommate at around 10:30 p.m. on April 11, watching a movie at their residence. His vehicle was found on April 21 at Table Rock State Park in Pickens, South Carolina. The area is about 30 miles from the university and is very rugged. Investigators found a Wendy’s restaurant receipt inside the vehicle dated April 12 at 1:30 p.m. It is believed he drove to the park on April 12. He had also withdrawn $20 from his bank account that day; his bank cards, including an ATM card, were never found. The area around his vehicle showed no signs of struggle or foul play, and it is unknown whether he drove to the location alone. Searchers canvassed the area around his vehicle for two weeks and found nothing of interest.

Patrice Endres, 38, disappeared from her hair salon in Cumming, Georgia, between 11:30 a.m. and noon on April 15, 2004. She vanished during a gap of about 12 minutes between clients. The front door of the salon was unlocked and the cash register was empty, but there was money in her purse. Her lunch was in the microwave and her vehicle was parked at the salon.

Her skeletal remains were found in December 2005 behind a church about 10 miles from her salon. A woman came forward with a description of a man in a white van parked in front of the salon, but she later recanted the story. Serial killer Jeremy Brian Jones admitted to killing Endres and dumping her body in Sweetwater Creek in Douglas County, but authorities ruled him out as a suspect after her remains were found 70 miles from that location and when he couldn’t provide any additional information that wasn’t in the public record. Authorities looked at Hilton’s possible involvement, but they say he is no longer considered a suspect. There is no information as to why investigators have ruled him out.

Rossana Miliani, 29, lived in Miami, Florida, and disappeared while vacationing in Cherokee, North Carolina. She was last confirmed to have been seen at about noon on December 7, 2005, in the hotel where she was staying. She called her father and told him she was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Some reports say she was spotted in Bryson City, NC, where she rented a storage space, shortly before disappearing. Miliani is reported to have bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but no details are available about whether she was on medication or if she was experiencing any issues at the time of her disappearance.

On the two-year anniversary of her disappearance, a clerk at a local store read an article about Miliani and called investigators to report that she’d sold a backpack or bag, possibly a sleeping bag according to some sources, to Miliani and a man who claimed to be a traveling preacher who visited campsites around the Appalachian Trail. According to the clerk, the man was about 60 years old, had hair greying at the temples and may have been wearing a hair piece because his hair looked unusual. The clerk claimed that Miliani appeared to be nervous.

A private investigator working on the case released a sketch of the unidentified man in June 2009. The man resembles Hilton, and he’s considered a possible suspect. Neither Miliani nor any of her belongings, including luggage and a camera, have been found; no money has been withdrawn from her bank account since her disappearance, but a deposit was made on December 31, nearly three weeks after her disappearance. No further information is available about that deposit.

Some sources say Hilton is known to have stolen and unsuccessfully tried to use Miliani’s bank card, but I was unable to find official corroboration of those reports.

A fisherman found the remains of Michael Scot Louis, 27, dismembered and stuffed in plastic garbage bags, in the Tomoka River at Ormond Beach, Tomoka State Park, Florida on December 6, 2007. His torso and legs were recovered, but his head has never been found. Louis was last known to have been seen on November 21 or 22, 2007, but when his remains were found 16 days later, the autopsy estimated he had only been dead for two to seven days. It’s unclear where he was or who he may have been with during the days he was unaccounted for. Days after his disappearance, his Firebird was found parked unusually far from his apartment in the apartment complex’s parking lot in South Daytona, Florida, with the keys still in the ignition and his dirty laundry and guitars inside.

Hilton was officially ruled out as a suspect after DNA testing did not implicate him, but some thought he should remain on the list as a potential suspect. In January 2018, Nelci Tetley, 67, was arrested for shooting to death and dismembering her then-boyfriend, Jeffrey Albertsman, 55. It was discovered that she had possibly also dated Louis, although she denied knowing him or having a relationship with him, and she’s been named as a suspect in his case.

University of Georgia student Cayle Bywater disappeared from Athens, Georgia on December 29, 2007. She was reported missing after neighbors became concerned when her dog was seen running loose outside her home. Meredith Emerson would be kidnapped three days later from Vogel State Park, about 80 miles north of Athens.

On January 11, Bywater’s body was found in an Athens lake. An autopsy listed drowning as her cause of death, but there’s disagreement about how she came to be in the lake. There were no traces of illegal drugs or alcohol in her system, but she had been prescribed medication to treat a mental disorder, reported by some agencies as bipolar disorder. The autopsy also found a previously undiagnosed heart defect, but that could not be proven to have played a part in her death.

A photograph taken by an undisclosed individual the day she was last seen alive shows Bywater in Memorial Park walking her dog on leash. Witnesses claim to have seen someone matching Bywater’s appearance walking a dog in the park near the lake where her body was later found, and some said she appeared to be disoriented or chasing the dog. No signs of foul play were discovered on her body or at the scene, but her family insists she did not wander off or commit suicide. In a news article dated January 8, 2008, (https://www.savannahnow.com/article/20080108/news/301089882) her family was concerned that she may have been kidnapped by someone who saw her in a disoriented or confused state and took advantage of the situation. That same news article mentions the kidnapping of Meredith Emerson by Gary Michael Hilton but quotes an investigator as saying the local police department and Georgia Bureau of Investigation did not consider the cases related at that point. It’s unknown if Hilton is now or was ever considered a suspect in Bywater’s case.

Are there more? There are dozens of unsolved cases of missing and murdered people in the areas where Hilton was known to or may have traveled or lived. Someone put together this Google Map detailing known and possible victims of Hilton: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1v-4PyOHDjE17GhkF6ofEvFWtLes&hl=en&gl=us&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&z=5&ll=34.77220536527494%2C-83.37685848300629 . It’s a very interesting rabbit hole. I’m unsure who created the map or what criteria they used to include possible victims. If anyone on this sub has information about the creation of this map, please let me know and I’ll include more details.

What Don’t We Know? Discussion and Theories

Knowing what we do about Hilton and the crimes for which he was convicted, it’s hard to believe that Emerson, Dunlap, and the Bryants are his only victims. Investigators have pointed out that it’s rare for a serial killer to start killing in their 60s, and Hilton’s crimes seem to be the work of a confident killer. His lack of victimology—targeting victims based on opportunity rather than sticking to a certain type of person—and his large geographic footprint, transient lifestyle, lack of family and friends, and remote hunting grounds all point to the possibility that he’s been active for a lot longer than the short spree of four known victims.

There are so many missing people and unsolved homicides in the southeast corner of the United States that it’s not hard to think Hilton may be responsible for some of them.

What are your thoughts or theories?

A note of thanks: u/cspach2005 invited me to do this write-up on Hilton for an upcoming podcast on www.disturbedpodcast.com. They covered my previous write-up on Timothy Bindner (https://www.reddit.com/r/UnresolvedMysteries/comments/g2mh3i/hes_been_a_suspect_in_the_disappearances_of_at/) in this podcast, https://www.disturbedpodcast.com/bindner/, so I was thrilled to contribute again. I’ll add a link to the podcast episode on Hilton once it’s done.

Resources:

Park Predators podcast about Hilton: https://parkpredators.com/episode-1-the-hunter/

YouTube video of Georgia Bureau of Investigation interview with Hilton (4.5 hours): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9Tw1iejmzc

ThoughtCo blog from July 14, 2019 about Hilton’s crimes: https://www.thoughtco.com/the-gary-michael-hilton-case-971046

Murderpedia entry for Hilton, including text from news articles: https://murderpedia.org/male.H/h/hilton-gary-michael.htm

Timeline of Hilton’s life and crimes: http://prairiechicken.blogspot.com/2008/02/gary-michael-hilton-timeline.html

Strange Outdoors article from January 23, 2018 about Hilton and his victims: https://www.strangeoutdoors.com/mysterious-stories-blog/2018/1/22/gary-michael-hilton-the-hiker-murders

CNN article from 2008 detailing how Hilton helped make a movie about a serial killer: https://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/03/13/hilton.movie/index.html

Wikipedia article: Murder of Meredith Emerson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Meredith_Emerson

March 23, 2008 article detailing Hilton’s confession and Emerson’s fight to survive: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/23769881/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/killer-says-female-hiker-fought-him-end/

March 11, 201 article about judge barring release of crime scene photos in Emerson’s case: http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/03/10/meredith.emerson.photos/index.html

August 2012 opinion piece by the journalist who requested Emerson crime scene photos explaining why he did so: https://www.ajc.com/news/opinion/why-requested-slain-hiker-crime-scene-photos/2PmN2O3oTCOJKq7mBuvgfL/

Wikipedia article about the Judy Smith case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Smith_homicide

Rossana Miliani Charley Project profile: http://charleyproject.org/case/rossana-miliani

Article from December 17, 2007 about remains found in Florida, possibly linking them to Cheryl Dunlap: https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=4010778&page=1

Article from February 28, 2008, announcing Hilton’s indictment in the case of Dunlap: http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/02/28/hilton.indictment/index.html

March 27, 2012 article about Hilton pleading guilty to the Byrants’ murders: https://www.blueridgenow.com/article/NC/20120327/news/606022032/HT

May 17, 2008 article detailing John Bryant’s autopsy findings: https://www.blueridgenow.com/article/NC/20080517/News/606047031/HT

January 4, 2018 article about the Bryants: https://www.ajc.com/news/local/tragic-end-for-unique-couple/PzAHQbeBqHLPzNjGei0nAJ/

December 23, 2007 article about memorial service for Michael Scot Louis: https://www.news-journalonline.com/article/LK/20071223/news/180117745/DN

January 24, 2018 article about Nelci Tetley’s arrest, possible implication in Louis’ death: https://heavy.com/news/2018/01/nelci-tetley-accused-dismembering-killing-boyfriends/

January 13, 2017 article commemorating the 22nd anniversary of Melissa Witt’s unsolved disappearance and murder: https://www.5newsonline.com/article/news/local/outreach/back-to-school/melissa-witts-body-found-22-years-ago-investigation-still-open/527-5556593c-22df-4077-b6c3-e7fd7f041f33

Jason Knapp’s Charley Project profile: http://charleyproject.org/case/jason-andrew-knapp

April 4, 2010 article about Patrice Endres’ disappearance and murder: https://www.forsythnews.com/local/crime-courts/husband-seeks-closure-in-cold-case/

Google Map detailing known and possible victims of Hilton: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1v-4PyOHDjE17GhkF6ofEvFWtLes&hl=en&gl=us&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&z=5&ll=34.77220536527494%2C-83.37685848300629 (I did not create this map, nor do I know who did or what criteria they used when choosing which possible victims to include. I’ll gladly edit the post to include that information if someone knows more details about the map’s creator or creation.)

Thanks to the Courtesy of :

https://www.reddit.com/r/TrueCrime/comments/ix5i4j/gary_michael_hilton_the_national_forest_serial/

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