Socastee family hopes vigil sparks tips about missing daughter

akelley@thesunnews.comJanuary 23, 2014 

— Debbi Elvis said Thursday night that prayer is the only thing helping her get through each day that passes without any information about her daughter’s location.

Heather Elvis has been missing more than a month, and Debbi Elvis said it isn’t getting easier with time.

“It’s not getting easier it’s harder,” she said. “When a crisis happens, once it’s done and it’s over you deal with it. You cope with it. You accept it. Time heals. This just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.

“There’s nothing to accept. There’s nothing to do but hang onto that hope and pray for her.

The Elvis family was surrounded by about 100 people Thursday night under heated lamps at Cypress Campground Resort near Socastee High School on the Intracoastal Waterway for a candlelight vigil.

A slideshow projected on a screen played pictures of Heather through the years and the family lit and released paper lanterns into the night’s sky.

Cathy Luke attended Thursday’s vigil and said her daughter went to school with Heather Elvis’s sister Morgan.

“I know how I would feel if my daughter was missing,” she said. “I would want people who are total strangers to come out and help me look for her. It breaks my heart every time I think about them and what they are going through.”

Luke said she carries fliers and passes them out everywhere she goes.

Debbi Elvis said she hopes things like the vigil can help bring her daughter home and that she hasn’t lost hope for Heather Elvis’ safe return.

Heather Elvis was last seen about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 17. In a police report filed late Dec. 19, an officer on patrol reported seeing the 20-year-old’s vehicle parked at Peachtree boat landing. The officer called her father, Terry Elvis, 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.

Horry County police said they continue to receive tips about Elvis and investigate each one, but no new information about her whereabouts are available.

“There are still tips we’re waiting to come in,” Debbi Elvis said. “There’s still information we don’t have from people that might have been with or her seen her even two weeks prior to her missing. We are waiting for the tip that is going to break this case.”

Debbi Elvis described her daughter as a loving, artistic and creative girl.

Morgan Elvis said she hopes people can remember her sister is a person and save judgments on her character because pictures don’t paint the complete picture of her sister.

“At the end of the day Heather’s a person,” she said. “She’s a girl, she’s a sister, maybe some day she’ll be a mom and she’ll have a daughter.”

Morgan Elvis said the way her sister dressed for work or her past actions shouldn’t matter.

Since her disappearance, rumors have swirled about Heather Elvis with a few people posting comments that question her character on the Find Heather Elvis Facebook page maintained by family and close friends.

“In a situation like this all of your faults come out and she’s not that person,” she said. “The good is always buried under rumors that make headlines.”

The reward for information about her disappearance and her whereabouts was increased to $30,000 Monday. Anyone with information about Elvis’ whereabouts should call Horry County police at 843-915-TIPS.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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