Crime & Courts

Missing couple's accountant bought drop cloths

Dennis Gerwing
Dennis Gerwing The (Hilton Head) Island Packet

Updated 1:18 p.m.

Authorities say an accountant who killed himself after a Hilton Head Island couple vanished bought three large heavyweight drop cloths the day they were last seen.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said today that the investigation into the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert continues but that circumstantial evidence points to the accountant as the main suspect, and he may have acted alone.

Along with a yacht at Harbour Town they lived on, the couple also have a home in Atlanta.

Tanner says an accountant who kept the Calverts’ books, Dennis Gerwing, met with them March 3, when they were last seen. He says Gerwing, a former Columbia resident, bought the 9-by-12 foot drop cloths and a box of latex gloves that afternoon. Neither the cloths nor gloves have been found in searches of his business, home or vehicles.

An employer said Gerwing had embezzled $2.1 million from the couple and seven other companies.

The sheriff also released the text of Gerwing’s suicide notes. One written on a bed sheet was gibberish. A note he wrote on paper rambled on about his financial problems.

The sheriff also said that Gerwing’s SUV had been taken to a shop and thoroughly cleaned after the couple’s disappearance.

A shovel was found at his house. Gerwing told detectives he had used it to work on his irrigation system, but detectives could not find any evidence of a shovel being used in his yard.

On March 2, Gerwing met with Elizabeth Calvert about money missing from the couple’s account. The sheriff said Gerwing told her to come back to his office on March 3 with John Calvert. Gerwing had the office cleared out before the Calverts arrived.

That was the last time the couple was seen.

-- From Island Packet staff reports

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