Man Charged with Kidnapping Georgia Hiker

Police find her bloody shirts, warn that she is likely dead
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2008 10:08 PM CST
In this May 2007 photo released by Pat B. Mitchell, Meredith Emerson is seen with her dog Ella, in Flowery Branch, Ga. The 24-year-old hiker has been missing since Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Courtesy...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Police charged 61-year old Gary Hilton with kidnapping with bodily injury today in the case of a missing Georgia hiker, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Surveillance photos showed Hilton trying to use Meredith Emerson's credit card recently at a bank; police also linked his car, which has a seatbelt cut out, to a seat belt found "with apparent blood transfer stains."

Emerson's family and friends huddled together and cried as authorities announced the arrest. Police warned that "the chances are slim to none that she's alive" after finding her bloody shirts in a dumpster, but a spokeswoman for the Emersons said they are not quitting: "They still want to find her," she said. "They're not going to have any closure until she's found." The search will resume at daybreak tomorrow in the North Georgia mountains.