Crime

June trial date possible for Sidney Moorer; Heather Elvis’ family speaks out on dropped charges

Heather Elvis' family asking for new information

The family of Heather Elvis, who disappeared in 2013, urges anyone with information to come forward and talk to police.
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The family of Heather Elvis, who disappeared in 2013, urges anyone with information to come forward and talk to police.

While Heather Elvis’ family still prays to find her, a man formerly charged with her murder will likely appear in an Horry County courtroom on the remaining charges he faces in the case in June.

Sidney Moorer’s attorney Kirk Truslow said Friday that pretrial motions on the kidnapping and obstruction of justice charges should be heard the week of June 13 and the trial will likely be set for the week of June 20, though Circuit Court Judge Markley Dennis has not signed the order officially setting those dates.

I never liked the murder charges to begin with, because it makes you accept something you still have a choice about whether you’re going to accept or not, and we still haven’t found Heather.

Debbi Elvis, Heather Elvis’ mom

The Elvis family told media during a news conference Friday that they are still praying to find Heather, who was last seen in December 2013. Morgan Elvis, Heather’s younger sister, said Heather has become just a name said in pity or warning.

“It’s become that she’s no longer a person, she’s a face on a poster,” Morgan Elvis said. “She’s a name that’s said in warning or pity, and I hate that, because it’s been so long that it’s now just something that happened.”

Murder charges against Moorer and his wife Tammy Moorer were dismissed Thursday, along with indecent exposure charges. An obstruction of justice charge also was dismissed for Tammy Moorer, court records show. Tammy Moorer’s lawyer, Greg McCollum, could not be reached for comment Friday.

“We are thrilled, though not surprised that the murder charge has been dismissed. We are anxious to get to trial set for June 20 to completely resolve all issues in this case,” Truslow said.

It’s been more than two years since Elvis disappeared, and residents are still grappling for answers. Supporters still gather regularly for vigils at Peachtree Boat Landing, where Heather Elvis was last seen, and banners offering rewards for information to help find her can still be spotted around town.

Officials involved in the case decline to give details about it, citing a gag order that’s been in place since March 2014 preventing them from talking about specifics. Truslow said his office is not planning on filing a motion to modify that gag order.

Debbi Elvis, Heather’s mother, said she’s disappointed the murder charges against the Moorers were dropped but sees it as a blessing.

Candles are lit during the second memorial vigil for Heather Elvis at Peachtree Landing. Elvis, 20 at the time, was reported missing Dec. 19, 2013, after her car was found at Peachtree Landing in the Socastee community.

“I also feel like, there were things that were going to come out during the trial that I wasn’t looking forward to, so maybe it’s God’s grace that we don’t have to deal with that right now,” she said at a news conference Friday.

Horry County police could not say much about the case and where it stands in light of the dismissal of the murder charges.

“If there are duties yet to be performed or investigations to be conducted then we’ll proceed accordingly,” Lt. Raul Denis, Horry County police spokesman, said when asked about whether the search for Elvis would continue.

Terry Elvis, Heather’s father, said the Moorers’ charges still mean something because they were indicted by a grand jury.

“If they didn’t think they had the right people, they wouldn’t go to trial,” he said.

We still live days one day at a time. We’re still looking for our daughter, we’re still looking for Heather every day.

Terry Elvis, Heather Elvis’ dad

Sidney Moorer reacted to the dismissal of the murder charges on Facebook late Thursday: “It's about time! My friends and family know the truth. They know we were set up and lied on from day one.”

Sidney Moorer then went on to write a lengthy post with his reaction to the dismissal and made accusations against police and prosecutors involved in the case.

Denis said he could not comment on Moorer’s post because he would be violating the gag order.

Whether Moorer’s response violates the gag order is between him and the judge, according to Horry County officials. Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said he could not speak on the case or dismissal of the charges because of the gag order.

Debbi Elvis said she hasn’t seen Moorer’s latest post, but isn’t worried about any of the accusations.

“I’m not sure how they’re spinning this, but I’m not worried about what they’ve said,” she said. “Same old, same old.”

Sidney and Tammy Moorer were arrested in February 2014 and charged with murder, kidnapping, indecent exposure and obstructing justice in connection with Heather Elvis’ disappearance. The couple remained jailed through 2014. Tammy Moorer was released in January 2015 and Sidney Moorer was released in February 2015 after bond was set at $100,000 for each of them by Dennis, according to records.

A murder trial date was set for May 11, but that date was canceled when a continuance order was filed March 24, and a new trial date was not set.

The Moorers received permission to move to Florida in September after saying they found work in the Sunshine State. Though the couple relocated, they remain under restrictions there, including home detention monitoring, and they must also provide officials with their home and work information and must alert them immediately if anything changes, among other stipulations, court records show.

For now, the Elvis family is holding on to hope that they’ll find Heather soon. Debbi Elvis urged anyone with information about the case – or any details about the night Heather went missing – to step forward and talk with police. She also warned against making assumptions about the case or anyone involved.

“I need to find Heather. That’s my hope,” she said.

Elizabeth Townsend: 843-626-0217, @TSN_etownsend

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