scott hilbert

More than a quarter century ago, on March 13, 1988, 19-year-old Scott Hilbert, a student at Morehead State University in Kentucky, vanished somewhere in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Scott was on spring break from college and had left a note for his parents saying he was going to visit friends at Ohio State University in Columbus. He never arrived there.

Astonishingly, Scott’s car was found about three weeks later–in Arizona, hundreds of miles both from where he lived and from where he said he was going. The Charley Project file on Scott gives some other details:

On April 1, Hilbert’s black 1984 Ford Tempo with the Ohio license plate number 807 JPF was found in a desert area in the Beaver Dam Wilderness, in Arizona near the Utah border. Someone had tried to push the car off a cliff, but it got caught on a tree. The front and rear tags had been removed and were never found. Some of Hilbert’s belongings were scattered in the vicinity, but there was no sign of him.

What was Scott doing in Arizona? Did he drive there of his own free will, was he transported under coercion, or was he never there at all and someone else transported his car there? If so, why? My guess is that Scott did go to the Southwest himself, and the note about the OSU visit was a red herring intended to divert his parents from his true path, but there isn’t a single piece of evidence to suggest why.

This case reminds me of the more recent case of Bradyn Fuksa, who also drove his car a long distance to a place where he had no obvious connections, for reasons unknown. Scott Hilbert was only a few years younger than Bradyn Fuksa, who was 22 when he vanished.

So much time has gone by that we (unfortunately) may never know what happened to Scott, and after 25 years the chances of him still being alive are not good. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting mystery to ponder.