Dave and Susan Emerson: Where Are Meredith’s Parents Now?

The love between parents and their children is often described as one of the strongest bonds, and the pain of losing a child is an unimaginable agony. Meredith Emerson’s parents experienced this heart-wrenching reality when they learned that their daughter had become the victim of a brutal attack by the notorious serial killer, Gary Hilton. The account of this tragedy is explored in the documentary ‘Wild Crime: Blood Mountain’ on Hulu, where the Emerson family’s tough journey is featured. As time has passed since these events unfolded, let’s look into where Meredith Emerson’s parents find themselves in the present.

Meredith’s Parents Urged People To Help Find Their Daughter

Dave and Susan were residing in Charleston County, South Carolina, when they welcomed their daughter Meredith in June 1983. They devotedly raised Meredith, providing her with all the love and support they could offer. The tranquility of their lives was shattered on January 1, 2008, when they received a late evening call notifying them that Meredith had gone hiking on Blood Mountain in Vogel State Park, Georgia, and had not returned. The authorities were already involved, initiating a search. Filled with concern, Dave and Susan swiftly traveled to Georgia, clinging to hope that their daughter would soon be located.

Within a few days, law enforcement realized that Meredith hadn’t merely lost her way on the trail; a more sinister event had occurred and they conveyed the same to Meredith’s parents. It was not something that they wanted to hear. Gary Hilton emerged as a suspect, and the police swiftly circulated his images in the media. During this critical time, Dave addressed the public, pleading for any information about the individual. The anguish in Dave’s voice was palpable, and in the documentary, we see law enforcement officers acknowledging the profound pain the parents were enduring.

Dave and Susan enlisted Meredith’s godmother, Peggy Bailey, as the family spokesperson during the search for their missing daughter. Law enforcement maintained communication with Peggy as they progressed in their efforts. On January 4, 2008, authorities located Meredith’s dog, Ella, who had been with her on the trail, in Cumming. Concurrently, witnesses observed Gary Hilton disposing of evidence in the same vicinity. Despite Hilton’s apprehension, the absence of Meredith heightened Dave and Susan’s fears, as they had hoped she would be found with Hilton.

A day after Hilton disclosed Meredith’s body’s location, he secured an agreement from the police not to impose the death penalty. Dave and Susan, focused on locating their daughter, reluctantly accepted the terms after discussions with law enforcement. As per the documentary, when the police found Meredith’s body, they initially informed Peggy without disclosing the detail that she had been decapitated. Subsequently, realizing the omission, they made a second call to Peggy, who conveyed the shocking news to Dave and Susan. A long silence followed, marking one of the most devastating moments for the grief-stricken family.

Dave and Susan Emerson Have not Spoken Publicly Till Today

During the hearing, Dave and Susan were granted an opportunity to address the court. Susan expressed her perspective, stating that the removal of the death penalty was a way for Gary Hilton to avoid the severe consequences of his crimes. She believed that letting him languish in jail was a more fitting and harsh punishment. Susan emphasized that Hilton wasn’t worthy of occupying her thoughts, and she preferred to channel her energy into cherishing the memory of Meredith and honoring all that Meredith represented.

Image Credit: Somebody Remembers Me – Unidentified Adult/Facebook

Dave also addressed the court, describing Meredith as a beacon of light in their lives. He expressed the profound impact of her loss, emphasizing that her absence had created an immense void in their existence. Talking about Hilton, he added, “I feel no punishment is too severe for Mr. Hilton. I only pray that he suffers immensely for his heinous acts and that his fellow inmates recognize his evil and malevolence for mankind and treat him with appropriate measures.”

After the court hearing, Dave and Susan chose not to speak publicly about their daughter’s murder. Upon retrieving Meredith’s body, they returned to Colorado, their place of residence. In a heartfelt tribute to Meredith’s memory, they adopted her faithful dog, Ella, providing a loving home and preserving a connection to their daughter. The couple, who also have a son named Mark, undoubtedly faced the challenge of rebuilding their lives after such a devastating loss. Their hope likely centered on finding solace and strength as a family, supporting each other through the healing process.

Read More: Meredith Emerson: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?