The father of a South Carolina woman missing since 2013 vows to keep searching for her — as the woman’s ex-lover and his wife both sit in prison following convictions tied to her disappearance.
“We’re not giving up,” Terry Elvis, the father of 20-year-old Heather Elvis, a waitress who vanished in Myrtle Beach days before Christmas 2013, tells Dateline NBC. “Everything else takes a back seat, it really does.” (An exclusive clip of the interview is shown below.)
“Life does not go on,” he says. “People around you, [their] life goes on. But you’re still stuck, you’re holding onto the hope.” The interview with Heather’s parents, Terry and Debbi Elvis, airs on NBC Friday (10 p.m. ET).
Tammy Moorer, 46, was sentenced in October to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and conspiracy in the disappearance of Heather, who was having an affair with Moorer’s husband, 42-year-old Sidney Moorer.
Initially charged alongside his wife with murder, Sidney Moorer is serving a 10-year sentence after his conviction for obstructing justice in the case.
The murder charges against both later were dropped, and Sidney Moorer’s own trial last year on charges of kidnapping ended when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. He is due to be retried on the kidnapping charge later this year.
Prosecutors argued during Tammy Moorer’s trial that she had increasingly grown jealous of her husband’s relationship with Heather leading up to the kidnapping. Prosecutors compared her to the “Evil Queen” in Snow White, reports WCSI.
“When you mix jealousy, deceit and just an absolute crazed woman so worried about [Elvis] stealing her husband, that is when unnatural things happen,” Senior Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay said, according to the outlet.
Heather’s abandoned car was discovered near a Horry County boat landing in Myrtle Beach — where prosecutors said the Moorers lured Heather the night she disappeared before kidnapping her. Phone records and camera footage ultimately placed the Moorers at the landing around that time.
Heather’s father tells Dateline NBC that he last heard from his daughter in a good mood after she’d gone out on a date with another man two days earlier. He learned she was missing when a police officer arrived at his door with news that Heather’s abandoned car had been found at the boat landing.
In the exclusive clip from the show, he describes what happened next.
“The officer said, ‘Do you have extra keys or spare keys to the car?’ I said yes. He said, ‘Well, grab those and let’s go take a look at it.’ ”
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Heather’s Dodge Intrepid was parked awkwardly. Inside, on the driver’s console, was her driver’s license and a few business cards. But there were no keys.
“Eventually [the officer] said, ‘Let’s take a look in the trunk,'” Terry Elvis recalls. “And I went back and I turned the key. And he said, ‘Let me open it.’ I said, you know, ‘Just let me lift it.’ ”
“I was scared to death to open that trunk,” he says. “And we both looked in, and it was — it was fine. There was nothing there.”
Nearly five years later, police and the Elvis family are still looking for Heather.
Missing Woman Expressed Doubts About Relationship
Tammy Moorer’s defense attorney, Greg McCollum, said during her trial that there was no DNA evidence that placed Moorer at the boat landing, just a grainy video of a person using a payphone hours before Heather arrived there, the Sun News reported.
Heather worked at a pub called the Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed bar and grill where Sidney was a maintenance worker. According to testimony in Sidney’s 2017 trial, colleagues said the two soon fell in love — with Sidney often coming by the restaurant when Heather wasn’t working to bring her coffee and bagels. Friends testified that Sidney even talked about hiring Heather to be a nanny for his children.
But on social media, Heather appeared to express doubts about the relationship.
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well,” she wrote on Twitter on Sept. 21, 2013. On Nov. 5 of that year, she retweeted a tweet from comedian Daniel Tosh. “Hey married fellas,” he wrote. “You can either cheat on your wife OR murder her. Never both. That’s when you get caught.”
According to Sidney, his relationship with Heather ended in October 2013 when Tammy learned of the affair.
On Dec. 17, 2013, Heather went out with a new man — and afterward, she texted and called her friends to talk about the date.
But she later called a friend to say that Sidney had called her and asked to get back together. Phone records show that Heather spoke to Sidney at 3:19 a.m. on Dec. 18.
Prosecutors say that Heather then drove to the boat landing, where her car was found the next day. Two months later, the Moorers were taken into custody.