Horry County grand jury indicts couple on murder, kidnapping charges in Heather Elvis disappearance

troot@thesunnews.comMarch 21, 2014 

— Just days after being ordered held without bail, a Myrtle Beach area couple was indicted by an Horry County grand jury on kidnapping and murder charges in the disappearance of Heather Elvis, according to court records.

Sidney Moorer, 38, and Tammy Moorer, 42, each was indicted on murder, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and two counts of indecent exposure charges by an Horry County grand jury, which met Thursday, according to indictments released Friday.

Also Friday, a judge signed off on 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson’s motion for a gag order, according to the Horry County Clerk of Court’s office. Richardson said the order prevents attorneys and police from publically commenting on the case.

The indictments come after the couple’s bond hearing Monday in which Circuit Court Judge Steven John denied their requests and ordered them held without bail pending prosecution. Sidney Moorer is being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center while Tammy Moorer remains at the Georgetown County Detention Center.

The indictments filed against the couple were true bill indictments, which means that the case will not have a preliminary hearing at which more evidence could be presented publicly.

“Cases with true bills and those with a waiver of presentment then go to the general session court,” according to the S.C. Judicial Department’s clerk of court manual

Tammy Moorer’s attorney, Greg McCollum, said the indictment voids his client’s rights to a preliminary hearing, which they were hoping to hold next week.

“A preliminary hearing is a chance to see if the state has probable cause for the five charges and we would have a limited opportunity which is guaranteed by statute to require the state to present some evidence,” McCollum said Friday. “If the state elects to indict the case, then your absolute right to a preliminary hearing becomes void. We were very much looking forward to hearing the state present evidence and having the preliminary hearing and having that heard.”

McCollum said his office will continue to investigate the case and prepare for its movement through the judicial process.

Sidney Moorer’s attorney, Kirk Truslow, said he was disappointed that the indictments were returned and the preliminary hearing won’t be held, but now he hopes the case is expedited.

“I hope it doesn’t take as long as some of the other cases we’ve had around here,” Truslow said, referring to an unrelated previous case in which his client was jailed for four years without bond before the case was resolved. “We are working on it. We already started our investigation. We are hoping to get a trial in a reasonable about of time. If we don’t then we will go back and request a bond.”

Heather Elvis was last seen the night of Dec. 17 and last heard from early Dec. 18, according to authorities. She was reported missing Dec. 19 after Horry County police found her car, which was registered to her father, parked at the Peachtree boat landing. Elvis’ keys, cellphone and purse were not found in the locked car and she remains missing.

Richardson said Monday the gag order is an attempt to keep the case in Horry County.

Truslow, on Wednesday, said he didn’t think the gag order was necessary because the case had already been discussed, the state had already laid out their evidence during the bond hearing and he doesn’t think the order will stop the case from being discussed in the media and on social media platforms.

The Moorers have been in police custody since authorities executed a search warrant at their Socastee home at 7 a.m. Feb. 21 and charged them with indecent exposure and obstruction of justice. Two days later, police charged the couple with kidnapping in Elvis’ disappearance and then the following day with her murder.

Authorities have said that Elvis and Sidney Moorer began a relationship in June 2013, but it ended in October after Tammy Moorer learned of the affair.

Officials continue to investigate Elvis’ disappearance and search for information regarding her whereabouts in the case. Anyone with information can call Horry County police at 915-TIPS.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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