The Sun News on Thursday filed a motion requesting to join a lawsuit that seeks the release of court documents related to the disappearance of 20-year-old Heather Elvis.
The filing is part of an effort to gain access to details in search warrants executed in February against the two people suspected of killing the Socastee resident.
Tammy Moorer and her husband Sidney Moorer, face charges of murder and kidnapping in connection with Elvis’ disappearance.
The lawsuit The Sun News seeks to join was filed in Circuit Court by Waccamaw Publishers, which requested the search warrant information and was denied by Associate Chief Magistrate Arron Butler, who said releasing the search warrants “could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.”
The Sun News requested the information from Horry County and also was denied.
“We are joining this legal fight with Waccamaw Publishers because it is the right thing to do,” said The Sun News editor and vice president Carolyn Callison Murray. “While we have no desire to hinder an investigation or prosecution of suspects, the information sought would do neither in this case. The suspects are in jail and the defense attorneys have access to this information as part of disclosure.
“The public also has a right to the information.”
Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier, in denying The Sun News requests, said the results of the search warrants are exempt under state law because the information is to be used in a prospective law enforcement action or it would disclose investigatory techniques not otherwise known outside of the government.
Myrtle Beach based attorney George W. Redman III filed Thursday’s motion, and said a date for a judge to hear it has not been set. He said generally the court schedules such motions “within a matter of a few weeks depending on the urgency of the matter.”
Jay Bender, attorney representing Waccamaw Publishers, said in court documents that court records including search warrants should be available to the public and the press according to the S.C. Code of Laws.
The suit states that the records sought were not sealed.