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Hipp was last seen in the Mecklenburg County area of North Carolina on July 1, 1991. He was carrying $5,000 in cash at the time. He apparently traveled to the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York shortly therefter. Hipp called his grandmother collect from a pay phone in Manhattan, then vanished.
Hipp's memory may be impaired due to long-standing problems with alcoholism and mental illness. He had stopped carrying any identification or credit cards prior to his disappearance. Hipp's family hired private investigators to track his whereabouts, but his Social Security number has not been used since 1991. Friends stated that Hipp lived in subsidized housing in the Huntersville, North Carolina area early in 1991, then reportedly broke into a liquor store sometime afterwards. He apparently called police from inside the business and waited for them to come and arrest him. He has been admitted to various hospitals on several occasions in the past due to his bipolar disorder.
Hipp may have been seen in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina region during the summer months of 1996, but this could not be confirmed. His loved ones describe him as a very intelligent man with many interests. He is a talented sculptor who has previously won awards for his art. Hipp grew up in Davidson, North Carolina. His family owns Hipp Construction Company in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has not had any contact with family or friends since 1991, and his father and grandparents have died. Many of his relatives believe he met with foul play.