Hiker Suspect Linked to Slain Couple

Man fitting description tied to elderly hikers' disappearance
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 4:46 AM 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) – As the search for a missing Georgia hiker widens to five counties, authorities said the man accused in Meredith Emerson’s disappearance and presumed murder may be linked to the death of an elderly North Carolina couple who also disappeared while hiking. Gary Hilton, 61, has been charged with kidnapping Emerson with bodily injury and is due in court today.

"There are similarities" in the two cases and police are exchanging information, said a spokesman. A man fitting Hilton's description was seen using the couple's bank card, their son told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution—and Hilton was arrested after he used Emerson's card, according to police. “The more I learn about [Hilton], the more similarities I see," said the couple's son.