Rossana Miliani

Miliani, circa 2005; Sketch of unidentified male

  • Missing Since 12/07/2005
  • Missing From Cherokee, North Carolina
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 11/13/1976 (47)
  • Age 29 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'7 - 5'8, 220 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description Possibly a white gold diamond solitaire ring and a white gold pendant with a yellow stone.
  • Medical Conditions Miliani suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Miliani's nickname is Sassy. She has a tattoo of a lotus flower with Chinese letters in blue and red ink on her back and a small birthmark on her chin. Her ears are double-pierced and she has had her wisdom teeth surgically extracted.

Details of Disappearance

Miliani was last seen at approximately 12:00 p.m. at the Ramada Inn hotel in the vicinity of the 100 block of Painttown Road in Cherokee, North Carolina. She is from Miami, Florida and was vacationing in North Carolina at the time.

Miliani spoke of plans to hike the Appalachian Trail. She called her father from the hotel that day and told him she was going hiking. She sighted in Bryson City, North Carolina, the day of her disappearance; she rented a storage space at Ye Olde Mini Storage on River Street. Miliani has not been seen since.

Miliani had a large light beige suitcase with a broken handle, a matching carry-on bag, a laptop computer, a sleeping bag, a camera, a cellular phone and some other personal items with her when she was last seen; none of these have been recovered. She has not withdrawn any money from her bank account since she went missing, although some funds were deposited there on December 31.

In June 2009, a private investigator working on Miliani's case issued a sketch of a man who was seen with her before she vanished. The sketch is posted with this case summary.

A store clerk who read about Miliani's disappearance in the newspaper on the two-year anniversary stated she sold a backpack to Miliani and an unidentified man about 60 years old, with gray hair at his temples. He may have been wearing a hairpiece. He said he was a traveling preacher. The clerk said Miliani appeared to be nervous during the transaction.

Gary Michael Hilton is a possible suspect in Miliani's disappearance. He was a drifter who frequented forests and national park areas in the southeastern United States. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering a Georgia hiker, and he is a suspect in other murders. He resembles the sketch, but it hasn't been proven that he was involved in Miliani's disappearance.

Miliani's case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected. Both Florida and North Carolina police are investigating.

Investigating Agency

  • Asheville, North Carolina Police Department 828-259-5910
  • Swain County, North Carolina Sheriff's Office 828-488-4844
  • Broward County, Florida Sheriff's Office 954-491-3920

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 10, 2022; picture added.