Mont Highley IV bid his parents farewell two decades ago, and since then, much has changed.
On November 28, 2003, the 33-year-old individual disappeared after departing from his parents’ residence in Montgomery, Alabama, with the intention of visiting their farm in Macon County.
Mont’s death remains a mystery even after two decades. In January 2004, his body was discovered in an unused grain silo. Shockingly, to this day, no charges or arrests have been made in connection to his death.
In an interview with Dateline, Dr. Mont Highley III fondly spoke of his son, portraying him as a compassionate and affectionate individual. He shared how his son would go out of his way to express gratitude to people who were picking up papers on the roadside, emphasizing his son’s kind-hearted nature. According to Dr. Highley, his son had a friendly demeanor and was well-liked by everyone he met.
According to his father, Mont was the youngest in a family of three siblings and shared a close bond with his older sisters, Lisa and Leigh Ann. In November 2003, the family gathered for Thanksgiving at Leigh Ann’s house, which Dr. Highley recalls as being a great time.
The following day, Mont decided to stay at his parents’ house in Montgomery. According to his mother, Gail, he spoke to someone on the phone before leaving earlier than he had intended. Gail vividly remembers the moment, saying that she can still see him in the living room, laughing while talking on the phone with his back turned towards her.
During her interview with Dateline, Gail shared details about her final conversation with her son. She recounted Mont’s words, “I’m just going to go on to the farm and I’ll meet Dad in the – tomorrow afternoon,” and how she simply responded with, “Fine.” Despite the weight of the situation, Gail recognized that Mont was an adult at 33 years old, and their exchange was brief.
Mont had arranged to meet his father for a hunting trip on November 29th at a farm owned by the family in Macon County, which was located about 20 miles from Montgomery.
When Dr. Highley went to the farm that day, Mont was nowhere to be found. However, the gate was left open and the lights, as well as the TV, were still on inside the mobile home on the property. Dr. Highley shared with Dateline that Mont was uneasy about staying alone at the farm, which makes it unlikely that he would have left the gate and door open and left with the TV still playing.
Dr. Highley noticed that Mont’s Chevrolet Tahoe was also missing from the farm. He speculated that Mont might have left with a friend and forgot to close the gate behind him. Consequently, Dr. Highley secured the premises and departed from the farm.
According to Dr. Highley, the following day, they received a call from Dale Segrest, a former judge who owned a property near their farm, informing them that Mont’s Tahoe was parked outside his house. Upon hearing this, Dr. Highley and Gail rushed to the Segrest property, only to find their son’s car with the keys still in the ignition, but Mont was nowhere to be found.
According to Dr. Highley, he discovered Mont’s rifle and briefcase inside the vehicle, along with $200 of the $300 he had given his son a week earlier. Despite searching the property with Gail and the Segrest family, they were unable to locate Mont. “We were uncertain about what had happened,” Dr. Highley recounted to Dateline. “It was clear that he wasn’t there.”
After searching their farm for Mont, his parents proceeded to their lake house, located around 30 miles away. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there either. However, the investigators found evidence that suggested someone had stayed there recently. One of the beds had been slept in, and there were dirty dishes in the sink which indicated that at least one person had eaten there. Dr. Highley shared these findings.
Afterwards, the Highleys returned to the farm and decided to search inside the mobile home. As they rummaged around, they stumbled upon Mont’s cellphone tucked away in the pocket of his pants, which were lying on the floor. Gail expressed her concern, stating that Mont would always check in with her because he knew she would constantly call him if he didn’t. She found it peculiar that he hadn’t checked in and couldn’t help but worry.
After discovering the $100 that Dr. Highley had given to his son, the Highleys immediately reached out to the Macon County Sheriff’s Office. Following this, the MCSO contacted the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation in Montgomery, who assumed control of the case a day later.
According to Dr. Highley, the case of his missing son garnered a lot of media attention in 2003. He mentioned that around 300 individuals offered to help search for Mont, which included the use of specially trained dogs, helicopters, psychics, and foot search teams. Dr. Highley was amazed by the amount of interest and the level of involvement from volunteers, as well as the incredible equipment and resources that were utilized during the search efforts. He was grateful for the outpouring of support, and it left a lasting impact on him and his family.
Dateline was informed by Dr. Highley that Mont’s body was discovered in an abandoned grain silo situated behind the Back Forty Restaurant on County Road 30 in Macon County on January 14, 2004. Mont was found wearing only a t-shirt with a pair of neatly folded pants placed on his body.
Gail noted that the pants found were jeans, which struck her as odd. “To my knowledge, he never owned a pair of jeans,” she shared with Dateline. Additionally, Mont’s parents confirmed that due to the advanced state of decomposition, dental records were used to identify their son’s body.
According to Gail and Dr. Highley, they had searched for Mont within a 30-yard radius of the silo just three days before his discovery. As they were departing the area, their truck unexpectedly failed to start. Dr. Highley found it peculiar, stating, “I thought, ‘Boy, that’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened.'” Gail interpreted this as a sign from Mont, indicating that he was still out there.
On January 19, 2004, the Highleys organized a funeral for their son, which was attended by over 1,000 people at Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery. This was just five days after his body was discovered.
Back in August 2004, WSFA 12, an NBC affiliate, reported that authorities were making strides towards uncovering the truth behind the murder of Mont Highley IV. Although they were tight-lipped about the specifics, they did confirm that progress was being made and they were inching closer to solving the case, seven months after Mont’s body was discovered.
Dr. Highley stated that Mont’s case has been investigated by three different individuals within the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation in Montgomery. Despite not having a background in law enforcement, he offered his medical expertise to the investigators. Dr. Highley emphasized that if a patient in the hospital had multiple doctors handling their case, something would be lost each time a new doctor took over.
When Dateline reached out to the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation for an update on Mont’s case, Investigator Shawn Loughridge stated that the investigation is still ongoing. Despite sending specific questions about Mont’s case, Dateline has yet to receive a response from Loughridge.
No one has been held accountable for Mont’s death even after twenty years since the incident. Despite being in this state, his parents are still seeking answers. Dr. Highley expressed that they want to witness some form of justice for the loss of their son.
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