Georgia hiker's accused kidnapper leads authorities to her body

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Authorities have recovered the body of a 24-year-old hiker who'd been missing since New Year's Day.

They were led to Meredith Emerson's remains in the mountains of northern Georgia by the drifter who had been charged with her kidnapping. The discovery Monday came hours after a judge denied Gary Hilton bond in Emerson's disappearance. The 61-year-old Hilton was the last person seen on a hiking trail with Emerson, who had gone out with her dog.

An arrest warrant says Hilton tried to use Emerson's credit card.

A district attorney says the suspect is charged with kidnapping with intent of bodily injury, and more charges could be added.

Authorities are also looking into whether the disappearance of a couple in North Carolina is related to the case. John and Irene Bryant, who were both in their 80s had gone hiking in the western mountains in October. Her body was found in November. He's still missing and presumed dead.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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