Heather Elvis’ family gathered to pray with supporters Saturday night at their regular monthly vigil as Sidney Moorer prepares to stand trial Monday in connection with her kidnapping.
“It’s not easy. It doesn’t get any easier. I think the hardest part, besides not knowing what happened, is knowing that someone knows what happened and their heart is so hardened that they won’t tell,” Terry Elvis, Heather Elvis’ father, said at a news conference Saturday just before the vigil.
Elvis disappeared Dec. 18, 2013, and the then-20-year-old’s car was found abandoned at Peachtree Landing in Socastee Dec. 19, 2013, and the family and supporters met regularly there on the 18th of every month for prayer vigils.
It’s not easy. It doesn’t get any easier. I think the hardest part besides not knowing what happened, is knowing that someone knows what happened and their heart is so hardened that they won’t tell. Terry Elvis, Heather Elvis’ father
Elvis’ parents Terry and Debbi said they understand the trial is important but said they want to keep the focus on finding Heather at the forefront because that’s the most important thing, and said the trial won’t bring them any sense of closure.
“This week that’s coming up there’s going to be a lot of focus on the trial and a lot of focus on the participants in the trial. It’s gonna take almost all the focus off the main reason this is going on and that’s to find Heather,” said Terry Elvis.
Legal proceedings have taken a toll on them emotionally and there’s no way for them to really prepare heading into the trial for Moorer, who is charged in connection with kidnapping Elvis. Tammy Moorer, Sidney’s wife, is also charged in connection with kidnapping.
Sidney and Tammy Moorer were charged with murder in connection with Heather’s disappearance, along with kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and indecent exposure, but the murder charges were dismissed for the couple in March; however, they can still be brought back. A gag order signed in March 2014 prevents involved parties from discussing the case.
The couple was arrested in February 2014 and charged with murder, kidnapping, indecent exposure and obstructing justice in connection with Heather Elvis’ disappearance. They remained jailed through 2014. Tammy Moorer was released in January 2015 and Sidney Moorer was released in February 2015 after bond was set at $100,000 for each of them by Dennis, who also modified the couple’s bond in September to allow them to move to Florida for work but remain under restrictions there, according to records.
The indecent exposure charges were also dismissed and an obstruction of justice charge was dropped for Tammy. A trial date has not yet been set for Tammy Moorer on her remaining kidnapping charge.
Sidney Moorer is charged with obstruction of justice and kidnapping, and Judge R. Markley Dennis, who is presiding over proceedings in the case, granted a motion Tuesday submitted by Moorer’s attorney to separate the remaining charges and try them separately.
The Elvis family declined to comment on the specifics of the trial and the recent ruling Tuesday because they said they didn’t want to impact a jury that hadn’t yet been chosen, but prayed for the trial and all those involved.
“We’re praying for all the families involved that we have peace and comfort in this and that we have the strength to endure and get through it because it’s very stressful already, the anticipation of the unknown,” said Debbi Elvis.
The family urged anyone with information to come forward and also asked that anyone who may have a suggestion about what happened to their daughter based on facts share it with the police, who actively investigate any tip that come in.
“We need more places to search. We’ve searching everywhere. We’ve covered miles and miles of ground, but we don’t have any other direction and that’s what we’re looking for,” said Debbi Elvis.
The trial, which starts with jury selection Monday at the Horry County Courthouse in Conway, could possibly still be ongoing June 30, which is Elvis’ birthday.
The family always remembers Elvis on her birthday, and this year they will be holding a fundraiser, asking that any money that someone would have spent on a birthday present for Elvis donate it the CUE Center for Missing Persons, which has helped and continues to help search for Elvis and others missing.
Horry County police said they are still working to locate the missing Socastee woman.
We’re still following up on any leads and any information that we get. We’re still trying to find Heather Elvis. Lt. Mark Bonner with Horry County police
“We’re still following up on any leads and any information that we get. We’re still trying to find Heather Elvis,” Lt. Mark Bonner with Horry County police said.
Roughly 20 people formed a prayer circle at the landing Saturday night for the trial and for finding Heather.
“It’s your worst nightmare as a parent to not know where your child is,” said Marie Sweeny, vigil attendee.
She came across the news of Elvis’ disappearance and began following it on the Internet and coming to vigils to support the family, which she says she can empathize with as someone who has children and a daughter Heather’s age.
She lit a candle for Elvis along with others at the landing.
“My heart just goes out to the family,” she said.