033 - The Disappearance of Heather Elvis
Heather Rachelle Elvis was born on June 24th, 1993 to parents Terry and Debbi. At the time of her birth, Heather was the youngest child, having an older brother, but just a few years later she would become the middle child when a younger sister was born. According to friends and family, Heather was a sweet young woman who had an affinity for helping others, specifically children, and was involved with the Baptist church where she sometimes would work take care of the youngsters. Religion seemed to play a role in her life, as she was a believer who worked through the church and also went on a missionary trip to Costa Rica in 2011.
While many girls her age may have been excited about a trip to Costa Rica, Heather was less interest in sight seeing and much more wanting to deliver aid to others. Her father tried to convince her to go diving while she was there, to see the beauty beneath the ocean, and while she did take him up on his advice, it wasn’t sea life which she wanted to tell him about. According to Terry, upon her return her excitement was about the things she had done for the people while she was there, saying “She told me how she had traveled to a tiny village and talked to a small woman living in a ten foot by ten foot house with a broken roof and water leaking through it. ‘We built her a new roof,’ she told me. ‘The lady cried. And then I cried. I’ve never used a hammer in my life and I built her a roof.’” Heather went down to the local orphanage the next day and spent time teaching the children how to read.
A caring young woman, Heather seemed to be fun loving with a big heart. Her father, Terry, wrote an article online about his daughter after her disappearance and described her as “Heather is like many girls her age. She loves her freedom, and she is loved by her friends. A cosmetology student and a talented artist with a brilliant eye for color, she has a selfless heart in everything she does and toward everyone she meets.” Heather had graduated from St. James High School in 2011, and was pursuing a degree in cosmetology, she had an innate ability to find the beauty in things and wanted to spend her time helping others find the beauty in themselves.
At the time of her disappearance, Heather was described as a Caucasian female standing between 5 foot and 5’1” tall and weighing approximately 110 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Distinguishing marks include several tattoos: a six inch compass rose on the inside of her left forearm, a six inch stylized sea turtle on the left side of her torso, an infinity symbol on the right side of her torso, a small ocean wave on the outside of her wrist and a sugar skull on her right thigh. She was last seen in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at 2:00am on December 18th, 2013. Heather’s social media presence presents a specific side of her, with her twitter standing as a memorial to her life. She would post about music, her boredom with her small hometown and her future dreams and goals. She had a sharp wit, and a beautiful mind with a tendency to go from one subject to another rather quickly.
While following her cosmetology goals, Heather began working at a bar and restaurant in Myrtle Beach called the Tilted Kilt. Brianna Warrelmann became friends with Heather through work, and the two hit it off, eventually moving into a condo together and being roommates as well as close friends. During her time at the Tilted Kilt, Heather would also meet Sidney Moorer. According to local Myrtle Beach news reports, Moorer was a native to the area who ran his own business, Palmetto Maintainence which operated repair services on industrial equipment at local restaurants. Heather was quickly attracted to Sidney, and that interest was initially held in check due to the fact that Moorer was married, and had three children with his wife, Tammy.
Tammy and Moorer had met while working together at Broadway at the Beach’s Hard Rock Café when Sidney was twenty-one and Tammy twenty-five. They married in 1998, when Heather Elvis was five years old, at Ocean View Baptist Church. They would go on to have three children, born in 1999, 2001 and 2005. While Moorer ventured out to begin his own business, Tammy became a stay at home mom who homeschooled their children while also operating as a part time travel agent. Their marriage, by all accounts, seemed to be going well and there was little to signify any issues between the two. Moorer had a few minor run ins with the law, once charged with shoplifting a DVD and later for being involved in a fight with his father in law.
There has been a great deal of speculation about the marriage itself, with many suggesting that the love had long gone out of their relationship and that, by the time Moorer met Heather, he was moreso just going through the motions and that Tammy essentially controlled him and guided the direction of their future. Whatever the case may have been, there is no denying that the attraction between Moorer and Heather quickly developed from harmless flirting into a full blown affair by the summer of 2013. It should be noted that at the time of the affair, Heather was twenty years old and Moorer was thirty seven, while Tammy was 40.
The relationship between Heather and Moorer seemed to be moving along quickly, though there was some hesitance on both sides, what with Moorer being married and Heather being much younger and not wanting to be responsible for an adulterous situation. According to Heather’s roommate, Heather was very much smitten with Moorer, stating “She just sat there and blushed as she talked about him. Over a series of weeks it was her being like ‘Bri, Sidney did this and we hung out here’ and every time he would come in she would almost run away.”
According to statements from Warrelmann, the relationship came to an explosive end sometime around October of 2013 when Tammy discovered her husband’s indescretions. In an interview, she stated “When the whole thing was found out, it blew up like a bomb almost. Tammy was livid, texting Heather, sending Heather pictures of her and Sidney having sex. I personally never saw them, I told her I didn’t want to. Tammy and her phone calls ‘you’re going to stop talking to my husband or else.’ It wasn’t or else I am going to do this, it was just ‘or else!’ So it wasn’t like Tammy had specifically made a threat, necessarily, it was ‘Leave my family alone.’”
The discovery of the affair seemed to enrage Tammy who lashed out hard against Heather with a series of harassing text messages. All of the anger and the rage culminated in a three way phone call between Heather, Tammy and Moorer. According to Warrelmann, Tammy arranged the call in order for Moorer to end the relationship and to make it more than clear to Heather that things were over and that she had meant nothing to him. In her statement, Warrelmann said “Tammy called Heather and said ‘You’re going to end it with my husband,’ and so she put Sidney on the phone sat there while Sidney and Heather talked. They ended things on the phone but Sidney made comments to Heather and said ‘You were nothing to me, you were just someone who spread your legs,’ and basically tore Heather apart as a human being, and who she was as a person, and made her feel horrible about herself.”
According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, Tammy’s wrath wasn’t specifically reserved for Heather. In response to the affair, Tammy is alleged to have focused more closely on Moorer and ways in which she could ensure that nothing like this would ever happen again. According to the Observer, Moorer’s comings and goings were extremely restricted, with Tammy alleged to have handcuffed her husband to their bed at night so that he couldn’t sneak out. It has also been speculated that Tammy put a password lock on Moorer’s phone so that he couldn’t use it without her permission and she began accompanying him anywhere he went, including going along to businesses he was servicing through his company. While she was keeping herself busy with watching Moorer’s life, she began to once again torment Heather.
Tammy sent a text to Heather in late October reading “Someone’s about to get their ass beat down. Your bitch is about to take his last breath. You can tell me where you are right now or I will find out another way. That way won’t have a great turn out for you. I am giving you once last chance to answer before we meet in person, only one.” Followed by another text reading “Hey sweetie, ready to meet the mrs?” Heather didn’t respond until November 1st, saying “I think you’re a little obsessed with me. I’m nobody you need to worry about anymore.” Tammy then responded on November 5th, saying “by the way dad no longer owns a phone” and Heather responded back with a period. According to prosecutors, November 5th also happened to be the last day that Heather would see Moorer in person. Details are scarce about how prosecutors are sure about that date, or what the interaction was. On November 19th, Tammy, Moorer and the children left town on a cross country trip to Disneyland in California, not returning home until December 11th.
During this period of time, Heather began the process of moving on with her life. Though she had been heartbroken over the situation with Moorer, she also knew that it wasn’t really going anywhere and despite his previous statements, she knew he was never going to leave his wife. She dealt with the heartbreak and slowly dug herself out, opening back up the world and the possibility of meeting someone new. Although Tammy had been a bother in the past, Heather thought she would move on eventually and she wouldn’t have to deal with the harassment for too long.
Heather’s roommate was going on a trip out of town in December, to visit family for Christmas. According to her, it was around this time that Heather began really lifting out of her funk and was beginning the process of dating again. According to Warrelmann, Heather called her and explained that she had met someone. In an interview, Warrelmann stated “It was supposed to be the first official date since after her relationship with Sidney had ended. I asked her what they were going to do and she said ‘Not sure, just excited.’ She texted me during the date and said ‘My date is teaching me how to drive a manual car.’” The date Heather went on that night was with a man named Steven Schiraldi who will become important later.
Warrelmann wasn’t the only person Heather texted that night. Sometime between 9 and 10pm, Heather’s father Terry heard his cell phone chime out that a message had been received. According to Terry, the message was a photo of Heather sitting behind the wheel of a manual drive truck and beneath it was the message “Just learned to drive a stick, I’m a pro!” Terry would go on to explain that he owned a manual truck which Heather loved, and he had wanted to give it to her, but all of his attempts to teach her to drive a stick had ended disasterously. Terry would say “It was funny each time. But now she was driving one and so very happy.” Neither Terry nor Warrelmann had any idea that this would be the last image of Heather that they would ever receive.
According to Terry, Heather’s first date was one which she enjoyed very much. Outside of being taught how to drive a manual transmission in a parking lot, she and her date had gone driving around looking at Christmas lights, which was one of Heather’s favorite things to do around the holidays. According to police reports, Heather’s date dropped her off at her condo between 1:30 and 2:30am and this is the last time that anyone sees her alive. Police would later track down and interview the man she went out with that night, who later submitted to a polygraph test which he passed. Police felt he was likely not involved in any criminal activities, nor did they have any evidence that he had been involved in Heather’s disappearance. What is known is that at approximately 1:35am, Sidney Moorer used a payphone located at 10th Avenue North, in Myrtle Beach. Moorer placed a call to Heather’s cell phone, and according to phone records, the call lasted four minutes and fifty three seconds. The call has been heavily debated, with Moorer initially denying he made the call, though later admitting to it when security camera footage was discovered by investigators showing him in the booth.
According to Moorer, he called Heather to tell her to leave him alone. There doesn’t appear to be any record of Heather making calls or attempting to establish any contact with Moorer in the days or weeks leading up to this call. Heather’s roommate, Brianna Warrelmann has a different take, saying that Heather called her at approximately 3am and was crying. According to Warrelmann “When I asked her what was wrong she told me Sidney had called her.” Warrelmann states that Heather said “He said he left his wife, he missed me and wanted to see me.’”
Warrelmann tried to talk sense to Heather, saying “Don’t ruin it, don’t throw away how far you’ve come in the past month or so, for him.” According to Warrelmann they had a back and forth discussion about it, during which time she advised Heather to think about it and sleep on it. Heather is alleged to have said she was going to do that, that she was going to spend some time surfing the internet and then she would get to bed. This is the last time Warrelmann would ever speak to Heather Elvis. In order to maintain some sense of what exactly occurred that night, I am going to follow the official timeline which has since been mapped out by investigators and through later court testimony. It should be noted there are some conflicts between the timelines which have been established, but this timeline appears to be the one prosecutors followed.
At 1:12am on December 18th, Sidney Moorer was spotted on surveillance footage taken inside of a Walmart. He purchased a pregnancy test. It’s also been said that he purchased a cigar at the same time.
Approximately twenty minutes later, Moorer makes the aforementioned call from the payphone. The call lasts just under five minutes, and surveillance footage also verifies Moorer being in the phone booth at this time.
At 2:29am, phone records indicate that Heather called back the payphone, though there was no answer.
Between 2:42 and 2:56, Heather’s phone pinged at Longbeard’s Bar and Restaurant in Carolina Forest.
At 2:57 her phone was located on Augusta Plantation Drive, though at some point Heather’s direction turns around and she is moving in the opposite direction.
At 3:01 Heather returns to Longbeard’s where she remains for the next fifteen minutes. Immediately upon leaving, at 3:16am, the first call is made from her cell phone to Moorer’s but the call isn’t answered.
Heather arrives home at her Condo between 3:16 and 3:19am. Her phone pings indicate that she remained there until at least 3:24am.
While home, at 3:17, Heather places another call to Moorer’s phone. This time, there is an answer and the call duration is four minutes and fifteen seconds. During a later trial, the prosecution would argue that it was entirely possible, and even likely, that Tammy was on the call at some point with Heather.
Between 3:25 and 3:37am Heather’s phone travels to Peachtree Boat Landing. During her travels, at 3:36am, a surveillance camera located at a private residence captures a dark colored Ford F-150 traveling toward the boat landing, heading from the direction of Moorer’s home. The camera is approximately 1.7miles from Moorer’s residence. It should be noted that, at this time, Sidney Moorer owned and drove a black, Ford F-150. The vehicle was later swept by investigators and processed for evidence, though none was found.
By 3:38am, Heather’s phone pings at the boat landing and two calls are made between 3:39 and 3:40 to Moorer’s cell phone. Also at 3:39 another surveillance camera captures the Ford F-150 approaching the area of Boatlanding.
Heather attempts another call to Moorer at 3:41am, and then all cell phone activity suddenly stops at 3:42. Her phone can no longer be tracked. Whether or not it was turned off, lost service or power or was destroyed at this time is unknown.
Between 3:45 and 3:46am the previously mentioned surveillance cameras capture the F-150 again, heading back in the direction of the Moorer residence.
The next day, on December 19th, no one hears from Heather. Though it wasn’t completely unusual for Heather to not reach out every day, her family does find it a little odd considering she had been on a date the night before. They expected that she would want to tell them what had happened, considering how excited she was and the images she had texted out of her learning to drive a stick. As the day grew longer, and darker, it became curious. According to Terry Elvis, late in the evening, there was a knock at the door.
The police had arrived and asked Terry if he were missing any vehicles. Terry, pointing toward the driveway, noted that all of the vehicles there were accounted for. At this point, the officer asked him about a dark green Dodge intrepid, Heather’s car. According to Terry, at this point, the officer explained that they had found Heather’s car abandoned and parked sideways at the Peachtree Boat Landing. At this point, Terry took the extra set of keys to Heather’s car and went along with the officer to allow them access into the vehicle. His level of panic was rising, and he couldn’t think of a reason why Heather’s car would have been left there.
Upon arriving at the scene, there didn’t appear to be any signs of a struggle and the vehicle was in fine shape and working order. The inside of the car was described as being a mess, though Terry explained that Heather was somewhat known for not keeping her car very neat. It should be noted that since Terry unlocked the vehicle, he and the officer searched through it at that time, essentially contaminating a possible crime scene. Missing from the vehicle was Heather’s purse, cell phone and keys. Terry immediately began placing calls to her phone, but they went to voicemail without ringing. Terry explained to the officer that it was extremely unusual for Heather’s phone to be turned off. Afterward, Terry was allowed to drive the vehicle home which would ultimately become a point of contention since it wasn’t properly processed at the scene nor photographed in the way that it was found.
Fairly early on, investigators suspected foul play in relation to Heather’s disappearance. When it became light out the next day, on December 20th, they initiated a search of the area in and surrounding the Peachtree boat landing, though they didn’t come up with any clues or items to indicate that anything had happened there. Over the course of the next week, multiple searches were conducted including a large volunteer effort which took place on December 27th. The area around the boat landing was heavily combed over, and again, search parties came up completely empty. During this time, the family established the Facebook page FindHeatherElvis, as well as offering a $1,000 reward for information about her disappearance. Days later this amount would be increased to $10,000. At its peak, the reward for information about Heather was at $30,000.
At this point it became clear to many involved in the investigation that there was a high likelihood Heather had met someone at this location and likely gone along willingly with the person or persons who may have been responsible for her disappearance.
Due to Heather’s social media presence, and the expanding world of twitter and Facebook, multiple posts and pages were made in relation to her disappearance. Tips began pouring in, though for the most part they led nowhere. Police had the difficult task of having to track down each tip, not knowing whether or not they were being given vital information related to the case or being sent on a wild goose chase. They also had their share of internet trolls to contend with, which ultimately resulted in a pair of arrests on January 28th, over a month after Heather’s disappearance. The men, Garret Starnes and William Barrett, were arrested for interfering in the investigation but after multiple interviews, the charges were dropped. Authorities had determined they were simply looking to be trolls and had no knowledge or information of value to the investigation.
After two months of investigating leads, searching for Heather and tracking down thousands of anonymous tips, Police continued circling back to Sidney and Tammy Moorer. The deeper their investigation went, the more reasons they found to connect these two to Heather’s disappearance. In their initial conversations with Sidney, he lied about his whereabouts that night and denied making the call from the payphone. Later, when evidence was presented confirming that it was infact Sidney who made that call, he alleged that the call was made to tell Heather to stop bothering him and to leave his family alone, though he had no explanation for the call Heather made to his cell phone later that night. In his first interview with police, when asked about his whereabouts, Moorer stated “When I go to sleep, I’m handcuffed to the bed. Tammy’s the only one with the key.”
In early February, Sidney Moorer filed multiple police reports alleging that on multiple occasions, while driving, vehicles driven by unknown individuals had driven up on him aggressively and fired both automatic weapons and shotguns. While police were considering Sidney a possible suspect in the case, it appears that word had gotten out and many locals didn’t take kindly to it. Whoever had fired at him, if indeed the incidents were true, was never discovered nor charged. During this time, as Police were digging into Heather’s disappearance, Sidney and Tammy quickly became their prime suspects. On February 21st, authorities executed a search warrant at the Moorer home. The search took place at 7:30am and by 11am, both Sidney and Tammy were booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.
A total of six arrest warrants had been issued for the couple. The first pair of warrants were for indecent exposure, which stemmed from two separate incidents in which investigators allege that the couple had engaged in illicit activities in public areas. Another set of warrants alleged that Sidney and Tammy had obstructed justice in relation to their investigation into Heather’s disappearance. According to the obstruction warrants, on December 20th, 2013, Sidney is charged with “providing and creating false, misleading and or innacurate information regarding the disappearance of Heather Elvis and his activities in the early morning hours of December 18th, 2013.” Tammy’s obstruction warrant had similar statements. Both were also arrested for kidnapping.
On February 24th, 2014 in a press conference held at 10am, it was announced that Sidney Moorer was being charged with the murder of Heather Elvis. According to the warrant, both Tammy and Sidney “did unlawfully, without just or sufficient cause, with malice forethought.” Although authorities wouldn’t reveal the details, they expressed that they found evidence when they searched the couples home which led them to believe that they now knew who had kidnapped and murdered Heather Elvis. Captain Dale Buchanan with the Horry County Police stated “We have evidence that will be processed with us. SLED is assisting us with processing some of the forensic evidence. Is some of the evidence DNA? Yes.”
Over the course of the next two years there is a great deal of legal wrangling taking place on both sides of the case. There are arguments over bail arrangements, with bail ultimately being set at $100,000 for each individual and the requirement of electronic monitoring devices to be attached when bail is met. Heather’s family protests and files a petition to have the judge removed for allowing bail to be set, though this doesn’t provide any fruitful results. The defense argues for a speedy trial, saying that it is their clients constitutional right. There is a lot of back and forth, and then suddenly, on March 16th, 2016, the murder charges are dropped. The charges for obstruction are dropped against Tammy, though remain for Sidney and the kidnapping charges are changed to being “pending.” The indecent exposure charges are also dropped against both.
On June 20th, 2016, Sidney Moorer’s trial for the kidnapping of Heather Elvis began. His obstruction of justice charges are separated from the kidnapping charges and will require a separate trial. It was during this trial that information came out that it was possible Heather may have been pregnant at the time of her disappearance. Jessica Cooke, Heather’s supervisor at the tilted kilt, testified that she noticed Heather gaining weight and that Heather had taken a pregnancy test which came back as inconclusive. Both sides argued their cases, with the prosecution alleging that Moorer had every reason to want to kidnap and or harm Heather while the defense took the position that authorities had tunnel vision for Moorer based on his previous relationship with Heather. Ultimately, four days later, the jury declared a mistrial when they were hung. According to multiple jurors, the vote was 10 in favor of a guilty verdict and two in favor of a not guilty verdict.
A gag order had been previously issued by the judge in relation to the details of the case. It was brought to the judges attention by the prosecution that Moorer had violated the gag order. Moorer had spoken to a local media outlet on the second day of his trial, which was a clear violation of the order and on July 29th, Moorer was sentenced to five months jail time for this violation. On September 28th, Moorer was released from jail early for good behavior and work credit.
Moorer was then tried on his obstruction of justice charges. The trial would ultimately end on August 30th, 2016 and result in Moorer being found guilty of obstruction. The jury deliberated for only one hour before returning at 5pm with a guilty verdict. Moorer was sentenced to ten years in prison for lying and impeding the investigation. When asked for comment following the verdict, Heather’s father, Terry stated “It’s amazing to see, finally the judicial system working in the way its supposed to. It’s taken a long time to get where we’re at, there’s a long way to go.” It was also announced by the prosecution that they wouldn’t be stopping here, and they intended to pursue a second trial following the hung jury in relation to Moorer’s kidnapping charges. In November of 2017, Moorer’s lawyer filed a motion asking to be relieved as council, sighting that the relationship between he and his client had deteriorated and was no longer workable. Kidnapping charges still linger for both Sidney and Tammy, though court dates have yet to be set.
During the course of the trials and throughout the years since Heather’s disappearance, a great deal of information has come out about the Moorer’s possible involvement. One piece of evidence which set off a firestorm of speculation was a private message, sent via facebook, from Tammy Moorer to a friend in relation to her husband, his affair with Heather and the disappearance. In this message, Tammy stated “Well, Sidney cheated on me in the months of September and October, with a psycho whore who has since went missing and now her crazy daddy is threatening to kill my children and Sidney.” Throughout the message Tammy refers to Heather as a hoe and Sidney as stupid.
In his own social media posting about Heather, Sidney Moorer did himself no favors, stating “Heather was not a relationship, Heather was not a girlfriend, Heather was not a fling. Heather was not a mistress. Heather was a girl that chased me at work and traded oral sex for pumpkin spice lattes.” He would go on to allege that he believed it was Heather’s father, Terry, who had fired shots at him and stalked him in the years after Heather’s disappearance. Also, in this statement, Moorer would allege that Terry not only sexually assaulted his own daughter, as early as four years of age, but that he had a criminal history and likely was the one responsible for Heather’s disappearance. Moorer wrote “You can feel sorry for a family with a bad reputation and dark sinister past all you want. This is not about them. They wronged their daughter. They wrote her off a long time ago and never looked back. Feel sorry for Heather, not those who were ashamed of her. Not those who would go to any length to cover their involvement in all of this.”
During the course of the investigation many questions were raised about Terry Elvis. While he puts forth the appearance of a God fearing Christian who loves his daughter, reporters and investigators alike have dug into his past and pulled forth information which shed somewhat of a dark cloud over his public persona. There have been allegations that Heather had been sexually assaulted by Terry when she was a child and had plans of coming forward with this information. It has also been suggested that Terry was racist and displeased with Heather’s former relationship with an African American man, as well as the fact that he knew of her affair with Sidney Moorer and disapproved, hating Sidney.
A former girlfriend of Terry’s from the 1980’s made allegation that at the time they were together, Terry may have been running drugs and that he devised a scheme to burn down their trailer home, located on a property which is part of Peachtree Landing, in an attempt to get insurance money. Further searches into Terry found an arrest for simple assault and battery in 2001 as well as multiple charges for fraud dating from the 1980’s. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that Terry had been misappropriating money received to assist in the search for Heather. Allegedly Terry purchased two new vehicles and paid off his $200,000 mortgage as well as purchasing a great deal of expensive clothing. Among other things dug up in this search into Terrys’ life were social media posts about disposing of a body, where he states “Don’t use concrete! Use topsoil and sand mix, cover with leaves or yard scraps, the concrete is a dead giveaway for where you buried them!”
There has even been evidence unearthed showing that in the weeks prior to Heather’s disappearance that Terry purchased a knife from eBay, just a short time before his comments about how to get rid of a body and he also still owns property in Peachtree Landing, just yard away from where Heather’s car was found abandoned. It should also be noted that Terry’s bother works in law enforcement and many believe that he was involved in steering the case towards the Moorer’s. It should also be noted that his brother was later fired from the Horry County Police Department for tampering with evidence.
While all of this information is interesting, it essentially adds up to little more than circumstantial. Authorities have never indicated any suspicion was cast on Terry in relation to the disappearance of his daughter, and none of his other children have ever come forward with accusations of molestation or assault. Though his former criminal charges cannot be argued against, there does appear to be little here to suggest that he was involved in the disappearance of his own daughter. I cannot confirm it, but a confidential source alleges that Terry was polygraphed twice, and that he failed the first time and results were inconclusive the second. Again, without the ability to verify this or without a direct statement from authorities, this has to be considered speculation.
The dividing line in the public has been a harsh one. The Moorers have their supporters who have gone out of their way to hurl accusations against not only Terry Elvis, but also the prosecution and authorities for what they believe was a tunnel vision investigation. Heather herself has been the victim of a great deal of insults and so-called slut shaming, targeting her as a homewrecker and going so far as to allege that she had a drinking problem, used elicit drugs and may have been involved in prostitution though no concrete evidence has ever been brought to the surface. On the other side, the Moorer’s have been depicted as a crazed family with Sidney as a man who took advantage of a young woman and Tammy being a violent and angry betrayed wife who wanted to get revenge on the younger Heather Elvis. However, court proceeding and trials have resulted in not only charges against the Moorer’s, but convictions against Sidney.
Interestingly, though police initially ruled out Steven Schiraldi as a suspect, their investigation of her cell phone travels began to raise questions. When they initially spoke to Schiraldi, he was cooperative and passed a polygraph test. Later, when mapping out Heather’s movements on the night she disappeared, they began to find discrepancies between Schiraldi’s story and the GPS locations of Heather’s phone. According to a confidential source close to the investigation, when police went to Schiraldi to follow up, he refused to give them his cell phone, or grant them access to its records. It was also discovered that not long after Heather’s disappearance, Schiraldi removed the seats in his truck, changing them over to bucket seats. This is the last location that photographic evidence exists showing Heather alive and has led many to speculate that the removal of the seats could have been done in an effort to dispose of forensic evidence.
The Disappearance of Heather Elvis is a bizarre case with a lot of twists and turns involved. As one might expect, in a situation such as this, a few theories have risen to the surface. In terms of media exposure, Heather’s case has been in the press a great deal and the more information that comes out, the more people find themselves picking a side. There are four essential theories when it comes to her disappearance. The first theory is that Heather ran off, in some attempt to escape a troubled past and begin a new life. Supporters of this theory point to social media posts she made about difficulties with her parents and her unhappiness where she was living. There is also a speculative belief that Heather may have been so heart broken over her breakup with Sidney that she just needed to get out of town.
The second theory is that Heather’s own father, Terry Elvis, was involved in some way in the disappearance of his daughter. Proponents of this theory point to his criminal past, the highly speculative statements that there may have been some kind of an improper relationship as well as accusations of Terry misappropriating funds garnered specifically for the search into Heather’s disappearance.
The third theory is that Heather fell victim to someone we have yet to discover. Perhaps a stranger, a friend, someone she trusted who managed to skate away without being noticed because of all of the chaos surrounding her former relationship with Sidney Moorer. Many support this theory because of the lack of a body, and the belief that the only reason Heathers remains have not yet been discovered is because the real perpetrator of this crime has never been accurately identified. Many believe that the investigations focus on Sidney and Tammy Moorer, distracted from evidence which may suggest the involvement of a yet unknown individual. Some have even gone so far as to believe that Heather may have fallen victim to the man she went out with on her date the night she vanished, Steven Schiraldi who in the last few years has become a subject of great scrutiny.
The final theory is that Sidney Moorer, Tammy Moorer or both, were involved in the abduction and murder of Heather Elvis. Obivously there is a great deal of evidence which points to Sidney having obstructed justice, lying to investigators and impeding the investigation for which he was ultimately found guilty by a jury of his peers. Tammy’s involvement stems from her angry text messages sent to Heather, as well as he bizarre behavior in terms of watching her husband and handcuffing him to his bed. Both Sidney and Tammy made inflammatory social media statements which did little to endear them to the public and neither has ever adequately expressed any kind of sorrow for what happened to Heather. Quite the contrary, both have been very explicit in defining her as a sexual tool and nothing more.
The Disappearance of Heather Elvis is a frustrating case in which many people have lost sight of the true core. A beautiful and loving twenty year old woman went missing and rather than the focus being specifically on what may have happened to her, the court of public opinion has become a mudslinging contest. The Elvis family obviously speaks unkindly of the Moorers, the Moorer’s speak unkindly of Heather and her family. The evidence about the affair has caused many to label Heather as a trouble maker and slut despite any real knowledge about what exactly happened there. An affair doesn’t occur when only one person wants it to happen. It should also be noted that Sidney was much older than Heather when that affair began, and it’s very difficult to accept his statements about being harassed and pursued by a younger woman that he alleges he was unable to keep at bay. If one is going to engage in an illicit affair, it’s difficult to accuse only one member of that relationship of wrongdoing.
In the four years since Heather vanished, there have been multiple court cases and charges filed. There has, however, never been a trial for murder and those charges were subsequently dropped. Often times prosecutors will drop these charges if they can’t ensure a victory because they don’t want to become victims to the double jeopardy law. Many believe that were Heather’s remains ever recovered, those murder charges would come back rather quickly. At the end of the day a young woman vanished without an explanation. Her family is left wondering what happened, and have sadly accepted the likelihood that Heather is no longer alive and may never be recovered. They spend each day hoping for new information and pray that someday justice will be served and they will learn the truth about what became of their daughter.
[Thoughts & Theories]
The disappearance of Heather Elvis has become one of the most frustrating cases I’ve ever worked on. I was aware of this case prior to researching it, but I initially thought of it as a more cut and dry case. Though it remains unsolved, all evidence that I’d been aware of seemed to point towards a particular set of suspects. Court cases and newspaper articles all seemed to indicate that these two were likely responsible for what had happened, and though murder charges hadn’t been filed and Heather herself had never been found, I honestly avoided this case because I thought that it seemed very direct. I was wrong. The more I have dug into this case, the more I have found that frustrated and confounds me. Each name I’ve researched has shed suspicions that I wasn’t aware of previously, and following the suspects and timeline is an ever branching story with twists and turns around every corner. My frustration exists on two levels: one is the utter complexity of those involved and the investigation itself which seems to dismiss a lot of evidence in favor of a particular theory. The other, is Heather herself.
At the center of this story, when you cut through all of the theories and speculation, the suspects and their motives, is a young woman who had a bright future that was taken away needlessly. It’s easy for many to sit in the moral high ground and judge this girl based on her actions and her involvement in an extramarital affair, but how many of us at the age of twenty were making reasonable choices when it came to our love lives and desires? I know people to this day who make poor choices in this regard who are much older and have a greater level of experience. Heather has become victimized, not only in the crime that was committed against her, but in the court of public opinion. People are too quick to dismiss someone based on mistakes that were made or choices that they disagree with. We all make mistakes, it’s the only way to learn everything, and much of the comments I have read through social media in regard to Heather have disgusted me. Regardless of what mistakes may have been made, no one deserves to be taken away from their life, their family and their dreams.
Before I get into the theories on this case, I wanted to provide a quick summary. Normally I wouldn’t do this but considering the complexity of the timeline involved, the suspect pool and the court cases, I wanted to just touch back on all of that quickly to help find our bearings. I threw a lot of information at you in this episode and I can understand how easy it can be to get lost. This is a case which needs charts and graphs to really keep up with.
Heather Elvis was engaged in an affair with Sidney Moorer from the summer of 2013 until October when his wife, Tammy, discovered it. Following this discovery, Tammy berated and insulted, as well as threatened, Heather through text messages. Tammy then began monitoring her husbands life closely, accompanying him to work and even handcuffing him to their bed at night. On December 18th, 2013, Heather vanished without a trace. Her vehicle was found by a boat landing in a swampy area located not too far from the Moorer’s home. Surveillance cameras showed a truck matching that driven by Sidney heading to and from the area around the time Heather vanished. Phone records indicate that the last call Heather ever placed was to Sidney’s phone. In the time since her disappearance charges have been levied against the couple, with Sidney ultimately being sentenced to jail for obstruction of justice. Other charges remain pending, though murder charges were filed they were ultimately dropped.
Heather’s father has been heavily involved in her case and it has been brought to light that he has a criminal history and that he has made strange statements online about how to dispose of a body. There have been a great deal of allegations hurled against him including that he is violent, controlling, racist and that he may have molested Heather when she was a child. There is no real evidenciary basis for much of this, leading most of it to be pure speculation, though his criminal history is documented. While Terry argues that Sidney and Tammy Moorer are responsible for his daughter’s disappearance, they pointed the finger back at him.
Steven Schiraldi took Heather on a date the night she vanished. While police initially ruled him out as a suspect, it was later found that his details about that date didn’t match up to GPS tracking of Heather’s phone. Schiraldi passed a polygraph, but some of his behavior following Heather’s disappearance has been labeled as suspicious and when police went to question him further about it he was less than cooperative. No legal action has ever been taken against him, though authorities have speculated about him being a suspect, and later not being a suspect.
As you can see, we have a cast of suspicious characters all with information they seem to be concealing and details which often times contradict the official timeline and story of what may have happened to Heather Elvis. It has been nearly five years since the twenty year old woman vanished and in those years there has been nothing which confirms what exactly happened to her, nor who is absolutely responsible. Speculation is rampant and discussions of her case often bogged down with incendiary comments and attacks on her character, as well as the character of all those involved in her case. While authorities maintain that they believe they know she was murdered, and who is responsible, they have never taken that case to court nor been able to prove it.
As is to be expected in a case like this, several theories have come to the surface. Unlike many cases, though, most of the theories have a decent amount of information or evidence behind them. Rather than being straight conjecture, there is a lot of hard evidence that can be followed. That being said, each theory contradicts the other which leads to this being highly complex and frustrating. The first theory in the disappearance of Heather Elvis is that Heather elected to leave town and cut ties with her friends and family.
The runaway theory is interested. Heather had recently gone through a difficult relationship situation and when the details of the affair came to light, she became the subject of threats and verbal assaults from Tammy Moorer. In addition to this situation, there are comments on Heather’s twitter which have led some to believe that she was looking for a way out. On September 3rd, she tweeted out “There’s nothing for me in this town, I need to go somewhere new.” Seventeen days later she wrote “Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” There were also mentions of frustrations with her parents, and arguments and difficulties with friends. For many, these tweets acknowledge a desire in Heather to run away. On the other hand, at least from my perspective, are these tweets really all that different from the complaints of your average twenty year old?
I think most twenty year olds experience things similar to Heather Elvis. Broken hearts, disagreements with friends and family, frustration with jobs and the possibility of jealous lovers. Not every twenty year old is sleeping with an older married man, but it isn’t exactly an unheard of situation. This doesn’t typically result in someone running away. In the case of Heather Elvis, there are more details to suggest she didn’t leave of her own volition than there are to say she did. First and foremost, how many people decide to run off and start a new life by leaving behind all of their earthly possessions including their main form of transportation? If indeed Heather were planning to run away, why leave her car behind and specifically, why leave it in an unpopulated area that is miles from mass transportation or main roads? It doesn’t really add up.
When you factor in that her abandoned car was found yards from property owned by her father and just a few miles from the home of her former lover, it becomes even more suspicious. Her purse, keys and cell phone were missing from her car and all cell phone activity stopped at that location. If she were planning to not be tracked by her phone, why bring it with her at all? There’s just too much information which suggests that Heather did not leave by her own choice. She called her roommate in the hours leading up to her disappearance, which would be a poor decision to make if you were planning to run off. In addition to that, she had been on a date earlier in the night, for which she was very excited. She was making it on her own, working, going to school and back on the dating scene.
From an outside perspective these are not the actions of someone who is planning to bring her life to a complete halt and start it all over. The biggest clincher for me is that Heather has never been spotted since she vanished. There has been no activity on her social security number. This is a twenty year old woman and while I have no way of knowing her level of intelligence I consider it highly unlikely that in this technological age she would be able to completely remove herself from the grid and never be seen anywhere. Also, how many twenty year olds can make it on their own out in the world without some money supporting them while severing all connections to their friends and family? While I understand this being a theory, and in most cases of a disappearance it’s almost required to be a theory, I don’t find the evidence to be in support of it. This is the least likely scenario for me. A possibility, yes, but highly unlikely.
The second theory in this case is that Heather’s own father, Terry Elvis, may have in some way been responsible for her disappearance and or have more information than he has provided to authorities. Looking over the information available, there is certainly a dark past behind Terry. FBI records indicate arrests for fraud, and police records show at least one arrest for assault and battery. Does his past necessarily indicate that he would then do something against his own daughter? No. Everyone has skeletons in their closets, perhaps not this many, but there is no connection between actions he took before his daughter was born and then her disappearance over twenty years later. It’s interesting, and may raise some eyebrows, but without further evidence, it’s highly circumstantial.
Information about Terry in relation to the time of Heather’s disappearance has also made some curious. There have been allegations that he took money meant to aid in the search for Heather and used it for personal gain. Without financial records to prove this, it’s essentially speculation. Whether or not Terry bought clothes, cars and paid off his mortgage with those funds can’t be completely proven right now. It’s curious, certainly, but at the same time life does go on. That doesn’t necessarily mean he used the money from Heather’s funds to do these things. I can understand people viewing this as suspicious, but again, it’s all finger pointing with little hard evidence if any at all.
Beyond that it comes down to the fact that Terry owned land right near where Heather disappeared, made some questionable comments on social media and had purchased a knife. There was information from a confidential informant who claimed that Terry had failed one polygraph and that another had been inconclusive but this has never been proven and police have never commented on it. Confidential or anonymous sources, often times, I find very difficult to buy into. Now, some have argued that because Terry’s brother was involved in law enforcement, he was protected from being investigated but I also find this hard to swallow. Yes there is corruption in police departments, but how much sway could one officer have? The family are always questioned and considered suspects initially, it’s just normal in the early stages of an investigation. Authorities likely looked at Terry, and I believe if they’d found enough information to make them suspicious, they’d have dug deeper.
Though Terry may not be the clean cut Christian man he presents himself as, that doesn’t mean he is a killer either. In terms of hard evidence, there has been nothing revealed which links him to the disappearance of his daughter. He has an alibi for his location that night, he wasn’t spotted on any surveillance cameras in the area and there are no records of communication between he and Heather that night. There have been allegations against him that he had assaulted or molested Heather in her youth, and while that’s a very disturbing accusation, again there is nothing to support it. Some have said Heather was going to come forward with these accusations, and while this is possible, how would Terry have known, and even if he did, would he have murdered his own daughter to prevent it? It should be noted that none of Terry’s other children have made similar accusations against him. A lot of accusations against Terry come from Sidney Moorer, as well as an ex-girlfriend of his named Karen. Whether or not there is truth to them can’t be known for sure.
While I understand Terry being a suspect in many people’s eyes, I don’t see enough evidence to make the link. You have to make the evidence define the suspect, you can’t go into it by choosing a suspect and then cherry picking information to make it fit him. While I do think Terry should be looked at, and it’s obvious that further investigation should be conducted, I don’t consider Terry the likely perpetrator of this crime. The evidence against him is circumstantial at best and extremely speculative in nature. I also don’t believe that authorities would do quickly have dismissed him as a suspect if they thought there was more going on here.
The third theory in this case is a split theory: either that Heather fell victim to a yet unknown suspect or that the man she went out with that night, Steven Schiraldi may have been involved. While it’s entirely possible that someone could have been involved in the disappearance outside of the known suspects, there doesn’t appear to be anything to point in that direction. Investigators seem fairly sure that they know who is responsible, though they can’t yet prove it. That being said, it’s a possibility that has to be considered. A lovely young woman by herself in the early morning hours near a boat landing would certainly be an easy target for someone. From what I gather about that location it is swampy and frequented by fisherman heading out into the ocean, so it can’t be ruled out that someone could have abducted her and took her out to sea. All of that being said, it does raise questions about why she was at that location.
The possibilities involving an unknown suspect could be considered limitless. Anyone could have come across her that night and abducted her, it’s a lot to consider but it can’t be ruled out. Investigators did look at this as a possibility, though in their view it was definitely someone Heather knew. They believe she was lured to that location and went along with her abductor willingly and was likely murdered when she was taken elsewhere. Considering that there could have been a trust factor, many have considered the possibility that her date that night, Steven Schiraldi may have been involved.
We don’t have a great deal of information available about Schiraldi. According to the statements of several people who claim to have inside information about the case, it’s been alleged that when he was questioned by authorities after Heather’s disappearance he gave a concise timeline of events and multiple news outlets reported that he submitted to a polygraph and passed it. For those of you who have been listening for a while, you’re likely aware that I don’t put a great amount of faith in polygraph tests. They are not admissible in court because they cannot be verified to be accurate. That being said, after cooperating and passing the polygraph, Schiraldi was ruled out as a suspect.
Later on, though, when a more detailed timeline was mapped out and Heather’s cell phone was tracked and its GPS coordinates noted, investigators discovered discrepancies between Schiraldi’s story and the location and times at which Heather’s phone was present at those locations. At this point its been stated that authorities went back to Schiraldi for more information and he was less than cooperative. He is alleged to have refused to give them his phone, or to grant them access to his cell phone records from the night that he went out with Heather. Many considered this suspicious, and rightfully so. If indeed Schiraldi had no involvement, you’d imagine he would be more cooperative but you have to also consider his state of mind at the time.
Perhaps he was paranoid that the police were going to try and push him as a suspect in order to solve a high profile case, or maybe there was some illegal activities that night such as drug use and he didn’t want to get in trouble for that. Heather, through her own tweets, has established that she had a history of drug use. The one detail which many people have latched onto as a reason for considering Schiraldi a suspect is that, is that not long after his date with Heather, he replaced the seats in his truck. Many feel that this was an action taken to destroy possible forensic evidence, but there has never been much of anything said about this from the part of investigators. Schiraldi was one of the last people to be with Heather before she vanished, and though it’s possible he could have knowledge or may have been involved there are a few details which make this questionable.
We know for a fact that Schiraldi dropped her off at home. Heather spoke to her roommate on the phone after the date and explained that she was staying in that night. If Schiraldi was planning to do something, why bring her home and then try to coax her out later? Also, investigators found no evidence of communication between the two following the conclusion of their date which makes it highly unlikely Schiraldi could have lured Heather back out. Again, this is one of those instances where Schiraldi should be looked at more closely, but the evidence against him is circumstantial and doesn’t really lead anywhere. Authorities may have screwed up early on by not digging into his time with Heather more closely, but at this particular time there doesn’t appear to be anything concrete to connect Schiraldi to her disappearance. This remains a possibility, and further investigation is warranted, but as of this time it also seems there is no information which makes Schiraldi a firm suspect.
This leads us into the final theory, that Sidney Moorer, Tammy Moorer, or both, were involved in a plan to abduct and possibly murder Heather Elvis. The list of information which ties one or both of these to possibly being involved is quite long. We know that Heather had an affair with Sidney, which Tammy discovered and was not happy about. Tammy threatened Heather on multiple occasions, spoke out against her on social media following her disappearance and is still facing charges for possible involvement. Sidney seemed to have an interest in Heather, but after the affair followed Tammy’s direction and spoke out against her and was involved in sending illicit photos of the couple to Heather as a way to upset her.
Following the official timeline, Sidney placed calls to Heather’s cell phone from a payphone the night she vanished. He initially lied and said that he didn’t, but when surveillance footage was able to prove it, he changed his story and claimed that he was telling Heather to leave him alone. The problem with this story is there is no evidence to suggest Heather had attempted any contact with him since the termination of their affair. On the night Heather vanished, Sidney is the last person confirmed to have spoken to her and a vehicle matching the description of his Ford F-150 was seen driving toward and away from the location of Heather’s abandoned car right around the time that her cell phone stopped transmitting. It should also be noted that the Moorer home was only a few miles away from the Peachtree Boat Landing where Heather’s car was found.
Authorities were almost immediately looking at Sidney as a suspect in this crime. Within two months of the disappearance, a search warrant was executed on the Moorer home and both Sidney and Tammy were arrested. Authorities later stated that they had found DNA, as well as other evidence, in their home which prompted their arrests and charges for murder, kidnapping and obstruction. What DNA they found has never been revealed, so it’s unknown whether it was from blood, hair, or something else. Whatever it was, police considered it strong enough to arrest the couple.
The murder charges were ultimately dropped, though we can’t know why. It’s not unusual for this to happen if prosecutors were worried that they didn’t have enough evidence for a conviction and they didn’t want the couple to be found innocent and thus be able to take advantage of double jeopardy laws. The police and prosecutors have been very tight lipped about why the charges were dropped, but I have to believe that if they felt they had all of the evidence they needed, the charges would have gone through. It’s also possible that they were hoping to use these charges to make a deal in which one might give up information on the other, or perhaps they would reveal Heather’s whereabouts.
So far, Sidney has been sentenced to jail after being found guilty on obstruction charges for lying to authorities. Sidney’s trial for kidnapping resulted in a mistrial, Tammy has yet to see her day in court for her own charge of kidnapping. As of the current date, neither has been charged with murder and there has been no further information from authorities regarding whether or not they ever will be. Its entirely possible, considering the previous theories mentioned, that prosecutors believe there is enough room for a defense attorney to create reasonable doubt and until they have enough evidence to remove that chance, they will not move forward.
We know that Sidney, at a minimum, spoke to Heather that night. Evidence would seem to suggest he may have met her at the boat landing as well. Is it possible that Heather went along with Sidney believing that they were going to run off together, only to end up in a terrible situation where she was murdered? Sadly, yes. Authorities from the get go believed that Heather had gone along willingly with her abductor and it had been someone that she trusted. If she still had feelings for Sidney, as had been alleged by her roommate, this is a scenario which is highly likely. Tammy threatened physical harm against Heather on several occasions, and made public statements against her. There was obviously a great deal of anger there and, a love triangle and jealousy are certainly two of the oldest motives in the book. Whether or not Sidney, Tammy or both played a role in Heather’s disappearance cannot be proven at this time, but for many who examine this case, it seems like the most likely scenario.
The Disappearance of Heather Elvis is a tragic story that has all of the buzz words associated with a bad suspense film. Love, affairs, drugs, money, family and threats. A resolution to this case doesn’t seem to be on the horizon anytime soon, and for Heather’s family, each day is another they must face without knowing exactly what happened to their daughter and their sister. Heather’s remains have never been recovered, and so her family doesn’t even have a spot to visit to pray and to mourn their lost loved one. It has been nearly five years, and each one has taken its toll, not only on those who knew and loved her, but on the community as a whole. The Moorer family stands as the prime suspects, while Heather’s father and even the man she went on a single date with face lambasting in the public forum as to their own possible involvement. Speculation abounds in heated debates to this very day.
The wheels of justice can turn slowly, and the trials and charges in relation to the disappearance of Heather Elvis are hardly at their end. Prosecutors still have dates to set in order to address Tammy in court, as well as retrying Sidney for kidnapping. Hopefully, someday, we will have the answers needed to sort out this complex and convoluted case. Until that day comes, the disappearance of Heather Elvis remains unsolved and stands out as a tragic example of a beautiful young woman taken well before her time.