Details of Disappearance
Hilbert was last seen in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 13, 1988. He was on spring break from college at Morehead State University in Kentucky, where he was studying for a bachelor of music degree in percussion. He left a note on the refrigerator for his parents, saying he was going to spend a few days with friends at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus. This was a ninety-minute drive from his home.
Hilbert never arrived at Ohio State and has never been heard from again. His family reported him missing on March 21, when he didn't return home in time to start classes again at the end of spring break. He had been driving the family car, a black 1984 Ford Tempo with the Ohio license plate number 807 JPF.
On April 1, the car was found on a dead-end road in the desert, northeast of Littlefield, Arizona, in the Beaver Dam Mountains Wilderness Area near the Utah border. This is 1,700 miles from Hilbert's home, but the car's odometer showed it had been driven 3,800 miles since his disappearance; over 2,000 miles could not be accounted for.
Someone had tried to push the car off a cliff, but it got caught on a tree. The front and rear license plates had been removed and were never found. One of Hilbert's fingerprints was on the passenger side of the car; other fingerprints in the car could not be identified. Inside the vehicle was a book of matches from a Denver, Colorado restaurant and pages from a Long Beach, California phone book.
Some of Hilbert's belongings, including his Morehead State University dormitory key, a lug wrench, a bottle of shampoo, and a kitchen knife from his home, were scattered in the vicinity of the vehicle, but there was no sign of him and the suitcase of clothes he'd packed to take to Columbus was never located. He is considered to be missing under suspicious circumstances. His case remains unsolved.