Mont Highley, IV
Murdered – January 14, 2004 – Shorter, AL
33-year-old Mont Highley was a true southern boy through and through. Raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Mont’s love for the outdoors was instilled in him from a young age. Whether it was hunting, fishing, or playing sports, Mont couldn’t get enough of the southern way of life.
As the youngest of three children, Mont was the baby of the family, but that didn’t stop him from living life to the fullest. He attended Montgomery Academy and later the University of Alabama, where he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Even after graduating, Mont remained a loyal fan of the Crimson Tide, never missing a game.
Although Mont’s work often took him out of state, he always made it a priority to come back home to Montgomery to spend time with his family. He cherished every moment spent with them and made sure to make the most of every visit.
Mont’s infectious personality and love for life left a lasting impression on everyone he met. His family and friends will always remember him as a free spirit who lived life on his own terms, unapologetically and with a heart full of love.
In November of 2003, Mont’s life was full of excitement and anticipaton. He’d recently interviewed with a company in South Carolina, and while awaiting their hiring decision, he spent much of his time in his hometown of Montgomery with his loved ones. Mont’s love for hunting was something he shared with his father, Dr. HIghley. Together, they spent many days in the woods, bonding over their shared passion for the outdoors and spent a lot of their time at “the farm,” a piece of property Dr. Highley had purchased in the Shorter Community of Macon County. It was a special place for Mont and his family, a place where they could escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, reconnect with nature, and just enjoy being together.
Thanksgiving came and went, and althought Mont was a bit quieter than usual, his family didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary. He was looking forward to spenidng time with his father at the farm on Saturday, November 29th, but at some point he had a change of plans and Mont decided to head to the farm a day earlier. On the evening of Friday, November 28, Mont left his parents’ home, saying goodbye to his family, not realizing it would be the last time they would see or speak to him. What happened to Mont Highley on that fateful night remains a mystery, and his family and friends have been left with unanswered questions and broken hearts.
It was a typical Saturday for Dr. Highley as he made his way down to the campsite, eagerly anticipating a day of hunting with Mont. But when he arrived, something felt off. Mont’s Tahoe was nowhere to be seen, and the usually locked gate was wide open. The front door to the mobile home was ajar, and the lights and TV were still on inside.
Dr. Highley searched the area for any sign of Mont. But after finding nothing, he assumed his son had gone to watch the Alabama game with friends and forgotten to turn everything off. He locked up the campsite and headed back home, thinking nothing of it.
However, the next morning, the Highleys’ world was turned upside down. They received a call from Dale Segrest, who lived just a few miles away down County Road 30 from the farm. He had found Mont’s Tahoe parked on his property. This discovery triggered a massive search effort involving multiple agencies and spanning several weeks. But despite their best efforts, Mont Highley remained missing.
On January 14, 2004, Shorter resident Johnny Johnson made a chilling discovery. He found a body inside an unused silo located behind the Back Forty Restaurant on County Road 30. Johnson immediately notified Alabama Conservation Agent Keith Mann, who alerted the authorities.
What made the discovery even more unsettling was the fact that the Back Forty Restaurant, where the silo was located, was owned by Johnson’s father, Ted Johnson. The property where the silo was situated was just outside the original search boundaries, leading some to question whether Mont’s body had been there all along.
However, while some locals remember the silo and the surrounding area being searched, authorities stated that the silo was not part of the early searches. This new development only added to the mystery surrounding Mont’s disappearance, leaving everyone wondering how he ended up in that silo and who was responsible for his untimely death.
In August of 2004, former Gov. Bob Riley issued a reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Mont Highley’s murder. But the investigation had already hit a wall, and the case seemed to be going cold.
Backtracking to the days and weeks leading up to the discovery of Mont’s body in the silo, the timeline reads like a thriller novel. The hunt for Mont was long and arduous, spanning multiple jurisdictions and involving several law enforcement agencies.
As the investigation unfolded, evidence and testimony related to Mont’s murder were presented to two grand juries, but no arrests or charges resulted from those proceedings. The killer(s) remained at large, and the Highley family was left to grapple with the agony of not knowing who was responsible for their son’s death.
To this day, no person(s) of interest has ever been publicly named, and the case remains shrouded in mystery. But the search for justice for Mont Highley continues, and the hope remains that someday, the truth will be revealed.