Body Positively Identified as Missing Hunter

Published: Jan. 15, 2004 at 4:05 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2004 at 1:40 AM CST
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The discovery was made in this silo.
The discovery was made in this silo.
Mont Highley, IV
Mont Highley, IV

Officials with the state department of public safety tell WSFA they have positively identified a body found Wednesday in Macon County as that of Mont Highley, IV. Highley disappeared last November, prompting a massive search of Macon County.

The badly decomposed body was found inside an old grain silo on the Johnson farm off County Road 9. The Johnson family says the silo hasn't been used in years and they had no idea what was inside.

"We've come out here and found a white male, located in the grain silo," said ABI Agent Scott Donovan.

After Highley's disappearance, hundreds of friends and family volunteered in the search, scouring the woods for any clue. The silo, however, was not part of the original search. "The area (around the silo) was not, no," said Agent Donovan.

Investigators have said very little about how Mont Highley IV died. Investigators were on the scene where the body was found again on Thursday along with representatives from the Macon County D.A.'s office. What they were looking for, investigators wouldn't say.

Ted Johnson watched as investigators went into the grain silo. Johnson is the property owner. He watched them from the front of his restaurant, the Back Forty. He is also the man whose son discovered the body and the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind for Johnson and his family and he still has a lot of unanswered questions. "My son just happened to look in," said Johnson. "Being friends with the Highley family and going through all the searching that was going on around here...we never considered it being just right here."

The silo Highley's body was found in hadn't been used in years.

After weeks of searching, the Highley family and the whole community finally have answers.

"We feel for the family so strongly," Sheppard said. She and other neighbors wonder what happened to Highley the night he disappeared. But she is thankful for his family, to have at least one more piece of the puzzle.

"They'll know that he's not here, that they've found him, so they can go on with life," she explained. "I feel like that will be helpful for them."

"That's what's so hard on everybody," said Johnson. "We don't have an answer. We have closure, but we don't have an answer."

A memorial service is planned for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery. The family is asking friends and family to send a donation to Child Protect instead of sending flowers. The address is:

Child Protect
935 South Perry Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Phone: 334.262.1220
Fax: 334.262.2252
E-Mail: childprotect@childprotect.org