Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Murder charges were filed Monday against a Myrtle Beach couple in the Heather Elvis case.
The charges against Sidney Moorer and his wife, Tammy Moorer, were announced by Horry County Police chief Saundra Rhodes during a news conference. Rhodes said a bond hearing for the couple will be held the week of March 17.
The Moorers were arrested Friday after a search warrant was executed for their home at 8786 SC 814, about 12 miles north of Garden City Beach, and the surrounding property.
Sidney and Tammy Moorer were both originally charged Friday with two counts of indecent exposure and one count of obstructing justice.
On Sunday, officials added kidnapping charges.
“We want to start from the beginning,” said Rhodes. “On Dec. 19, 2013, Heather Elvis' vehicle was found at Peachtree Landing. On Dec. 20, when she was reported missing by her family, a full investigation was launched.”
She said the murder charges came about because of additional evidence found during the search of the Moorers' property “giving us probable cause.”
She did not elaborate on any of the charges.
In response to a question, the chief said that Heather Elvis has not been located. “That is something that we are still looking for,” she said.
Elvis' disappearance has raised interest far beyond the Myrtle Beach area and tips poured in after a reward was offered.
The $1,000 offered by her family Dec. 20 became $11,000 on Dec. 24 and $20.000 on Dec. 28.
The CUE Center for Missing Persons got involved in the investigation, and on Jan. 6, Nancy Grace did a feature on the case on CNN Headline News.
As volunteers continued to search for Elvis, the reward grew to $25,000 on Jan. 9 and to $30,000 on Jan. 20.
Meanwhile the task for following virtually every tip, Rhodes said, was launched.
She praised her own investigators and those from the State Law Enforcement Division, the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office, the U.S. Marshal's Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol, all part of the task force.
Rhodes said the community involvement was both a help and a hindrance.
“We really appreciated the tips generated, but sometimes the helpers crossed the line and became a problem, taking time away from the investigation.”
In fact, two people were charged with posting misleading information about the case on a social media site. William Christopher Barrett, 52, and Garrett Ryan Starnes, 25, were arrested Jan. 28.
Sidney and Tammy Moorer had been suspects in the case — among others — from early on in the investigation, Rhodes said, but other people of interest were eliminated. Nor did Sidney Moorer stay away from law enforcement officials.
Sidney Moorer told Georgetown County deputies on Feb. 6 that shots were fired into his vehicle while he, his wife and their three children were traveling south on Highway 17 between DeBordieu and Georgetown. According to a Georgetown County Sheriff's Office incident report, a deputy met with Sidney Moorer at the Kangaroo convenience store at the corner of Church and St. James streets on Feb. 6.
Moorer also filed a report with the Myrtle Beach Police Department claiming that on Feb. 20, a man inside a truck pointed a shotgun at him while Moorer was driving on Kings Highway.