SOCASTEE — Family of the couple facing charges in the disappearance of 20-year-old Heather Elvis say the pair are good parents who were working to improve their relationship and are innocent.
Alice “Polly” Caison is the mother of 42-year-old Tammy Moorer who, along with her 38-year-old husband Sidney Moorer, is charged with murder, kidnapping, obstruction of justice and two-counts of indecent exposure in connection with the Elvis case.
Polly Caison said her daughter and son-in-law couldn’t have committed such crimes, that they are good parents who wouldn’t hurt a fly and should be home with their three children. Tammy is a stay-at-home mother who homeschooled the couples’ three children — two boys ages 8 and 15, and a girl age 12, while running a part-time travel agency. Sidney Moorer owns Palmetto Maintenance, LLC.
“You can ask anybody, Tammy is a good mother,” she said. “Tammy would not have done something like this to put her kids in jeopardy.”
Caison said she hopes for a fair trial if the charges aren’t dropped.
“I promise you one thing, whatever happened to that girl it did not happen here,” she said. “God help him [Terry Elvis] find his daughter because my family did not have anything to do with it,” she said. “I hope they find her and I hope she comes home.”
Terry Elvis could not be reached for comment.
Heather Elvis was last seen the night of Dec. 17 and last heard from early on 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.
Police on Feb. 24, charged the Moorers with murder and kidnapping related to Elvis’ death.
During the initial bond hearing, prosecutors pointed to cellphone records and video surveillance – which showed a truck authorities said belonged to the Moorers – to build their case against the couple. But defense attorneys call the evidence is circumstantial, with no link to tie the couple to Elvis’ disappearance.
Polly Caison said the truck police referred to never left the yard and that police didn’t spend enough time looking for other suspects, but instead targeted the Moorers, whose home sits behind the Caison home on the same property off Secondary Highway 814.
Horry County police along with attorneys involved in the case are under a gag order and blocked from talking about the case, but in a court hearing in May, Horry County senior solicitor Donna Elder said authorities took time to investigate before filing charges.
“This is not a case where law enforcement rushed to make an arrest,” Elder said. “Contrary to public pressure . . . they arrested them over two months later after a full investigation.”
Attorneys for both Moorers have said repeatedly that there is no evidence against their clients in the case.
“There is no evidence at all to link Tammy Moorer to the possible disappearance or death of Heather Elvis,” said Greg McCollum, Moorer‘s attorney said during a bond hearing in May. “She’s innocent, not just presumed innocent, but innocent.”
Ashley Caison, Tammy’s younger sister, said Sidney Moorer’s alleged affair with Elvis isn’t reason enough to accuse the couple. She said the affair was over when Elvis was reported missing.
During a bond hearing prosecutors said that Elvis and Sidney Moorer had begun a relationship in June 2013 and ended it in October. Prosecutors said when Tammy Moorer found out about the affair she began to harass Heather Elvis.
“Heather was in fact fearful of Tammy during this time period,” Elder said, during the March hearing. Elder said after learning of the affair, Tammy Moorer handcuffed her husband to the bed at night, a condition he agreed to for a six-month probationary period.
Polly Caison said she didn’t know about the affair until the investigation.
“Tammy and Sidney decided to put their life back together,” she said. “They went on vacation for three weeks and when they came back this thing started against them. They were over it ... they had forgiven each other and decided to put things aside and that’s why Tammy was trying to get pregnant.”
Tammy Moorer used the pregnancy as a basis for her second request for bond, which was made in May, but bond was again denied. Her attorney had requested that bond be reconsidered citing pregnancy, a prior miscarriage and concern that the stress of being jailed could jeopardize her current pregnancy.
Prosecutors said that Moorer refused subsequent treatment and testing and is not taking prenatal vitamins offered by jail staffers.
Polly Caison said her daughter won’t take prenatal vitamins because they were the cause of a miscarriage before the birth of her eldest child, now 15.
She said she is afraid for her daughter and son-in-law and that her family has been terrorized in the community where they have found signs including one with an x over her husband William Caison, saying “One down... Rot in hell.” Another sign showed Tammy Moorer with a bullet hole on her forehead. Ashley and Polly Caison said police reports have been filed, but the threats have not ceased.
William Caison died in March, and his wife said she’s certain the stress of this situation caused the death.
“It’s hard for me to go out,” she said. “It’s hard for me to go to sleep. You don’t never know who might pull a gun on you. We don’t trust anybody anymore. You don’t know who you can trust. It’s terrible. It’s like living a nightmare.”
She said her grandchildren don’t want to leave the house often. She said that fear began before the arrests when police arrived to search the home in February, where the family of five was found sleeping in one room.
Being locked away from family is hurting Tammy Moorer, according to her mother.
“It’s running her crazy,” she said. “You can tell by reading her letters. She loves her kids and she’s happy about this baby coming.”
Despite negative chatter in the community, particularly on social media, about the Moorers, Polly Caison said her family has a large group of support, including some family that she said had to sit on the prosecution side during the initial bond hearing.
Polly and Ashley Caison said they hope the truth surfaces soon.
Polly Caison said her house and the Moorer house each were searched twice, including once with a search warrant. Police took boxes of belongings, but she said she’s sure there wasn’t any evidence in either house to support the charges.
“There’s no way that my child done this and I’m sick and tired of every time I see the news or read the paper it says my kids are charged with murder,” she said. “There’s no way the child could do anything like that.”