The night after Thanksgiving 2003, Mont Highley IV, a 33 year old white male went missing in the small rural community of Milstead in Macon County, Alabama. Highley, the only son of a prominent doctor in Alabama capitol was last heard from Friday November 28th, 2003 when he arrived at a hunting trailer early. He was expected to meet his father at the hunting trailer that next morning on Saturday November 29th; only that never happened. An intensive community search set off in the west side of Macon County. Highley’s truck was found abandoned on residential property about two miles away from the hunting trailer. His hunting rifle, undisturbed wallet, and keys still left in the ignition were all found in Highley’s truck with no apparent signs of struggle. Witnesses saw Highley’s hunter green 1996 Chevy Tahoe parked behind an unoccupied residence while being used by property owners family for a small social gathering on the weekend Mont went missing. Highley’s family owned a farm in the same area, and knew the witnesses well, nothing was thought of by the truck being there, just that maybe he would be back. ” Friday night I had a son; now I can’t find him.” Mont Highley III (father) told reporter.
The hunting trailer was turned into a search headquarters by family & friends while Alabama Bureau of Investigation had helicopters and teams on foot with tracking dogs searching the Highley’s family owned 290 acre farm finding nothing while hundreds of volunteers searched off property. Searchers found the family golf cart abandoned about four miles away in the woods stuck on a tree root not far away from where Highley’s shirt, cell phone, an operable rechargeable flashlight, and personal pistol were found as well. The official search was called off on December 4th, 2003 but friends, family and other volunteers took action out of the woods and onto the highways by giving printed posters with pictures and numbers listed in case of any leads to truckers who migrated through the area. The Highley family offered a reward that started at $10,000, gradually making its way to $15,000, and then $50,000 for “Little Mont’s” return. The ABI continued interviewing witnesses, and persons of interest but when questions were asked regarding the search the ABI told reporter “It doesn’t look good.”.
About 6 weeks after Mont IV went missing, on January 14, 2004, a badly decomposing body was found by son of local property owner in an old grain silo. The property the unused grain silo sits on is located between the two locations Mont’s truck and family golf cart with belongings were found. No more than four or five miles between all locations starting with where his truck was located and where the bloody clothing was found there were so many questions about just what happened in such an isolated area in a very isolated community where he had gone missing . January 15th, 2004 it was confirmed that the body found was a positive match, and was identified as Mont Highley IV. About 30 ABI investigators and Alabama State Troopers set up headquarters at a local church in Macon County just between the silo that Mont was found in and the Highley family farm. ABI investigators were re-interviewing witnesses, and had teams searching high and low taking pictures & trying to gather more information and evidence also using polygraph testing during some further questioning of possible leads.
Many rumors started as expected in such a small town,.. love triangle whispers, drugs, it was all written on the bathroom stall walls in the local gas station bathrooms, low talking & finger pointing when the questioned families entered the places of business around town. It was nothing this little town had ever seen, helicopters and investigators everywhere you looked. Roadblocks forbidding certain people to pass; it turned a quiet, off the map town into something you would see in the movies,.. or at least a good True Crime Documentary. Tons of theories, even more questions, and subpoenas but never the answers that were needed most. The case is still unsolved. Original investigators have since moved to other positions or are else where in life leaving the case cold.
Who was the last person to see Mont? Was he in trouble? Did he have any enemies? Did he hear them calling for him or was it too late; was he already in the silo? Eventually the talk became old after investigators had become dormant and the small Milstead community went on with their lives. Every now and then the questioned families names showed back up on the bathroom stalls, but for the most part everyone returned to their normal lives. Maybe one day we will have the answers we need from that cold post Thanksgiving murder,…
Written By Alissa Segrest