Reflections on Meredith Hope Emerson ~ Murder in Mayberry

Meredith Emerson and her dog Ella from May 2007 ~ Photo Courtesy of Pat B. Mitchell.

Meredith Emerson and her dog Ella from May 2007 ~
Photo Courtesy of Pat B. Mitchell.

Seven years ago, we lost Meredith Hope Emerson along the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia.

She will never be forgotten ... because of the impact she made on so many of us and because of Right to Hike, Inc., that was created in her honor.

Click Here for Right to Hike

Thought I'd share a few thoughts that I wrote back then.


What is it about Meredith Hope Emerson that touched so many of us?

Her standard-issue "missing person case" morphed into news of a loved one lost in the woods, last seen with a creepy looking stranger. The nightmare of every parent, roommate, friend, and anyone else who heard of her plight.

Now that denial is no longer an option, all we can do is grieve with them and share their shock.

Meredith Emerson was murdered. Taken from Blood Mountain, where so many of us went to find a sanctuary from such evils. A heavenly haven in God's creation where we believed we and our daughters would be free from harm.

At the summit on a clear day, you can see downtown Atlanta 50 miles away. I doubt anyone ever gazed down at the city and wished he or she were there instead.

We all preferred being perched upon the magnificent rocky-top mountain with the modern day equivalent of the Yellow Brick Road running through it.

I believe we are going to mourn Meredith's death more than we imagine.

Think I'm exaggerating? Click on:

Read the comments left for Meredith's family. Twenty-one pages of them, the last time I checked.

Embrace this sample of sentiments written in her memory:

  • Our hearts are breaking at this devastating news
  • I cannot begin to imagine the loss you feel
  • I do not know your family personally, but I ache for you
  • Our prayers that Meredith would be found safe and sound are now that her family and friends find strength to cope with her death. We all share in your sorrow and grief. A beautiful young woman taken too soon, with so much life ahead of her. May God be with you all

And two I could have written:

  • My heart dropped when the news reports flashed in and reported Meredith had been found...I, like so many others, refused to give up hope until the very end
  • I have a daughter the same age as Meredith

Just yesterday I spoke with Julia, Meredith's roommate and stalwart ally. We both had hope that there might still be a miracle. We had to. It was too early to give up. The emotions we could not express to one another were communicated in a hug as we parted, still believing.

You and I lost a loved one when Meredith passed away.

If you've lost a loved one and the world didn't notice or seem to care, please forgive us. Our hearts have been hardened to these tragedies that fill newscasts, newspapers and the Internet.

But maybe that will change now.

Maybe some good really can come from this ... in time.

For now, pray for the family that must make arrangements to bury their beloved child.

And pray for them as they face the horrendous reality of the trial of the evil man who killed her.

I cannot close without saying thanks to the hundreds of people who honored Meredith by searching for her day and night. You are angels. God bless you all.


Click Here for the Good That Came from Meredith's Life and ...

Tags: Appalachian Trail, News, Crime, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Rescues, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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