Atlanta Authorities said Saturday they believe a hiker who disappeared from the northern Georgia woods on New Year's Day is dead, and they charged the man who was reportedly last seen with her with kidnapping.
Union County Superior Court Judge David Barrett signed a warrant charging Gary Michael Hilton, 61, with kidnapping with bodily injury in the disappearance of Meredith Emerson, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead.
Authorities were serving the warrant on Hilton on Saturday evening. The warrant was issued "based on evidence recovered in various locations," Bankhead said. He did not elaborate.
Bankhead said the search for the 24-year-old woman, who was hiking with her dog in the Chattahoochee National Forest, is now focused on finding her body.