Moorers leave the courtroom after hearing in kidnapping case
Kidnapping suspect Sidney Moorer opened up about the past two and a half years since he and his wife, Tammy, were charged in connection with 20-year-old Heather Elvis’ December 2013 disappearance.
Moorer, 40, talked for roughly two hours over the phone from his Florida home about his claims of corruption in Horry County, the threats he, Tammy, 43, and his three children have endured, including guns shot at them, pet mutilations and stalkings, and what life is like for him in the Sunshine state versus Horry County.
“I honestly think, and as horrible as it sounds, I honestly think that law enforcement and the solicitor’s office, mainly Jimmy Richardson, I really think they let that mob mentality go, hoping that we would be killed,” Sidney Moorer said over the phone April 23.
Moorer spoke openly, but at times was barred from delving into certain topics because of the gag order put in place by Judge Steven John in March 2014 at the request of the state – an order Moorer said the state hides behind.
Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said he didn’t want to comment on Moorer’s claims because the gag order is still in place, and he said with a trial coming up on kidnapping and obstruction of justice charges in June, it was more important than ever not to violate it.
“The gag order is in place to make sure that Sidney Moorer gets a fair trial, and as we close in on the date here in June it’s more and more important that there isn’t any pretrial publicity, especially coming from the state,” Richardson said.
Sidney Moorer said in the beginning of the investigation that authorities gave people just enough information to lead them to believe he and wife Tammy were responsible for Elvis’ disappearance, without releasing any of the questions they themselves had about the Moorers’ possible involvement in the incident.
Elvis was reported missing Dec. 19, 2013, after Horry County police found her car, which was registered to her father, parked at the Peachtree boat landing in Socastee, and remains missing. She was last seen Dec.17, 2013 and last heard from Dec. 18, 2013.
“Ideally, for them it would have been the perfect situation because they would never have had to prove anything,” Sidney Moorer said of his claims that authorities wanted him and Tammy killed.
There is no way in hell I will ever get a fair trial in Horry County.
Murder charges against the couple were dropped by the solicitor’s office in March; however, the charges can be brought back if the state chooses to reinstate them.
“I guess I was happy, but still a little upset, because I really feel like if they charge you with that they should have to prove it,” Sidney Moorer said of the murder charges being dismissed.
He would have preferred to have his day in court on those charges, because he worries about the state bringing them back, Moorer said.
“The fact that it’s been dismissed without prejudice means that it could come back up at any time in the future,” Richardson said of the murder charges.
If new evidence is found, the charges could come back for the Moorers, and Richardson didn’t want to move forward on the murder charges now for fear of double jeopardy if new evidence surfaces later, he said.
“They’ve screwed me once. Why wouldn’t they do it again,” Sidney Moorer said. “I mean they’ve got the perfect opportunity to do it again for the rest of my life. But this is the problem they’ll run into: we didn’t commit the crime. Therefore, they will never, ever find any legitimate evidence that we did this.”
On April 18, Judge Markley Dennis ruled to allow the state’s forensic expert to testify against the Moorers at the kidnapping and obstruction of justice trial Sidney Moorer is set to have in June.
Moorer looks forward to his day in court, but is concerned, he said.
“There is no way in hell I will ever get a fair trial in Horry County,” he said.
Moorer wants the trial held elsewhere, but said he couldn’t speak about a change venue due to the gag order.
“Innocent people go to prison every day. I’m fairly confident that this will end like it should, and we’ll both be found not guilty for a crime we didn’t commit,” he said. “I kinda wonder where they’re going with this. Do they even care about what really happened, or is it just about convicting or not convicting us at this point?”
Moorer said he feels some people are treated unfairly in Horry County.
“You really can’t piss off the wrong people in Horry County because it really is a good ole boys system,” he said.
Involvement with Heather
Sidney Moorer said he and Elvis were involved for roughly five or six weeks from about September to October 2013, but he said they didn’t have a “deep” relationship.
“We didn’t sit around and have long discussions about her feelings and stuff like that. She told me some things about her family life and stuff like that,” Sidney Moorer said.
Moorer said he could not discuss how their involvement came to a close due to the gag order.
“Honestly, I think she really tried to get away. Where she is now? I really have no idea. … There’s no way for me to begin to guess,” he said when asked where he thought Elvis was.
Moorer said Elvis often spoke about leaving the area, and pointed out that her social media account reflected that as well with posts expressing a desire to go elsewhere.
Moorer said he thought the focus on Elvis gets lost in all the noise about him and his wife and their case.
Threats and effects on the Moorer family
Moorer said his family has been terrorized since he and Tammy were named as suspects in Elvis’ disappearance.
Moorer filed police reports with Myrtle Beach police and the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office in two separate incidents in early 2014 involving suspects pointing guns or shooting at him.
On Feb. 20, 2014, Moorer told Myrtle Beach police he was in a parking lot on the 7500 block of North Kings Highway when two men pulled up in a truck beside him and pointed what appeared to be a shotgun at him, according to the police report.
Moorer was able to run inside and lock himself in and call police, and police were unable to find the suspects’ vehicle, the report states.
On Feb. 6, 2014, Sidney, Tammy and their three children were traveling on Ocean Highway in Georgetown County when Sidney Moorer said a truck came up fast from behind him, and the truck was about 50 feet away when he said he heard two gunshots ring out, according to a Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office police report.
The truck then slowed down and shut off its lights. Moorer said he lost sight of the truck and fled deeper into Georgetown County to call police. GCSO authorities said they didn’t see any damage to Moorer’s truck, according to the report.
The night of Feb. 6, 2014 was the same night a fundraiser was held at the Boathouse Waterway Bar and Grill in Myrtle Beach where money was raised to find Elvis.
People can say what they want about me. I’m an adult. … It’s OK. Fine. And even if someone thinks I did this horrible crime. Fine. But my kids had nothing to do with anything.
People have threatened to burn down his home, savagely mutilated ducks and rabbits kept as outdoor pets, followed his family around Disney World from Myrtle Beach, screamed at his children, and harassed him and his family online, he said.
“It makes me mad. It makes me worry about the safety of my children,” Moorer said.
The Moorers’ children are ages 10, 14 and 17.
“People can say what they want about me. I’m an adult. … It’s OK. Fine. And even if someone thinks I did this horrible crime. Fine. But my kids had nothing to do with anything,” he said.
The family was close-knit and always spent time together up until the Moorers were arrested in 2014, pulling the family apart for nearly a year while Sidney and Tammy remained jailed until early 2015 before they were released on bond.
“Up until that time we never really spent more than a day apart. Any of us,” Moorer said.
The children stayed with family during that time, Moorer said, but his oldest son, who was 15 at the time, felt like he had to be the man of the family while his parents were away.
“They don’t trust anyone at this point, because you never know if a person you run into is going to start screaming something at you or asking you crazy stuff,” he said of his children.
Moorer said despite it all, his children have stood strong. They have suffered from night terrors during the midst of everything, but those are starting to subside now that the family is outside of Horry County.
Life in Florida and recovering from murder charges
The family has been working on piecing their lives back together since leaving Horry County last fall.
“I feel safer where I’m at,” Moorer said.
While the family rebuilds piece by piece, Moorer said things will never be the same for them.
“Our lives are ruined forever,” he said. “My son may be 50 years old one day and someone may approach him and be like, ‘Your dad killed Heather Elvis.’ Even though it’s never been proven.”
Moorer said he and Tammy had nearly perfect credit when they were arrested, but now their credit has been ruined.
As crazy as it sounds, yeah, I might return to live in Horry County again.
“We had gone in and bought a truck with no money down. … Now it’s almost impossible for me to get telephone and internet, Moorer said, because his credit is no longer in good standing.
If his children want to order something online he can no longer simply pull out a credit card. Now he has to use prepaid credit cards for purchases, he said.
The family also had trouble finding a place to live, because many landlords do criminal background checks and murder charges would pop up on their records.
Finding work was also a big challenge, but Moorer said he is working now; however, he did not want to name his employer.
Despite everything the family has been through, they may move back to Horry County one day if they are found innocent and their records wiped clean.
“As crazy as it sounds, yeah, I might return to live in Horry County again,” Sidney Moorer said.
Most of the people who have given him and his family a hard time are people who have lived in the area for less than 10 years, and he said Tammy’s family has lived in the county for more than 150 years.
“That’s her home. No matter how much people don’t like that. That’s her home,” Moorer said.
Debbi Elvis, mother of Heather Elvis, did not want to comment beyond the following statement: “The Internet harassment for individuals in high profile cases is horrendous; and he is correct in stating that he was harassed and their children were harassed, as well as we were harassed and our children were harassed, our family members were harassed, and everyone who had anything to do with this case was harassed, stalked, and threatened online.”