One Myrtle Beach woman located, one still missing

troot@thesunnews.com, kgailliard@thesunnews.comJanuary 3, 2014 

A Myrtle Beach woman who was reported missing on Christmas Day called police Thursday to say she is safe.

The call from Jamie Lynn Cross’ came around 6 p.m., about a week after she was reported missing to Horry County Police, and a day before the launch of a weekend-long search for another Myrtle Beach-area woman Heather Elvis – missing since Dec. 17.

The two disappearances are separate incidents, according to Sgt. Robert Kegler of Horry County police, and major crimes investigators are continuing their investigation concerning Elvis.

Kegler said after police got a call from Cross stating that she was safe, a face-to-face meeting was arranged for officers to get confirmation. He would not say where she was or where the meeting took place.

Cross did not explain why she left, according to police and her sister, who also was contacted directly. Cross, 24, was reported missing after she was last seen two days earlier getting into a car with a man, according to a police report. The incident report included information that Cross "had done this before, but usually contacts someone within 24 hours," after leaving.

James Francis, who said he is her boyfriend and the father of one of her children, said he learned from police that she was safe. He called the news "bitter sweet," and said "I wish she had told someone she was going. She just left."

He said she asked police not to give him her location and he did not hear from her directly.

"She was embarrassed," according to Sarah Langlais, who said she is Cross’ half-sister. Langlais said she posted information about her sister on Facebook a day after the missing-person report. She described the days since as exhausting and overwhelming.

Langlais said Cross called her Thursday after contacting police.

"She was like I’m OK, I’m OK, I’m OK,’’ Langlais said." She was more worried about me at that point."

She said Cross was concerned because the news of her being located led to hostile comments on Facebook, "a stampede of nastiness."

Langlais said she has no regrets about setting up the page for her sister.

She also said she now is hopeful that her efforts to help her sister also helped draw attention to the search efforts for Elvis, who she said she also mentioned on Facebook.

Elvis will be the focus of a three-day search where residents interested in volunteering to help will have an opportunity to do so Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according her family.

Members of Heather Elvis’ family posted Thursday on Facebook that they will be actively searching starting at 9 a.m. each day and welcome volunteers to help. Volunteers must register with members of the Community United Effort Center for Missing Person or CUE Center by using an online application at www.ncmissingperson.org/volunteer-online-2/.

Searchers, who must have photo identification, will meet at 9 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Tidewater Road, which is located off Waccamaw Boulevard near U.S. 501 in Myrtle Beach.

Elvis was last seen about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 17, according to police. In a report filed late Dec. 19, a police officer on patrol saw the 20-year-old’s vehicle parked at Peachtree boat landing and called her father, who is the owner, to inquire why it was parked there.

Her father said he last heard from Elvis about 10:43 p.m. Dec. 17 when she sent him a text message. There is a $20,000 reward for information about her whereabouts.

In the posting on the Facebook page “Find Heather Elvis,” those wanting to search are asked not to do so independently, but instead register with CUE Center organizers and check-in with them when you arrive at the site. Searchers also should dress appropriately in boots for hiking, long pants and bring rain gear.

Volunteers will receive instructions regarding safety, evidence and possible crime scenes, according to the post. Those who want to donate food or water should bring it to the staging location along Tidewater Road. During previous searches, volunteers have twice found human remains that are being examined, according to authorities. The bones were identified as being from a male at least 20 years old, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge previously said.

The bones are believed to belong to the same person and Edge said they may have been scattered around the area by an animal because none of the remains were together in skeleton form. Pieces of a hip, the skull, and a couple longer bones were found strewn about the area, according to a police report. No clothing was found in the area and officials said in the report the bones appeared to have been in that area for a while.

Edge expects a report of the anthropologist’s findings in a week to 10 days. The bones will be sent to the University of Texas for DNA testing, which could take several weeks.

Elvis is 5 feet 1 inch tall, weighs about 118 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information about Elvis should call Horry County police at 915-TIPS.

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