WMBF News Special Report: Holding onto hope for Heather - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

WMBF News Special Report: Holding onto hope for Heather

Parents of missing woman Heather Elvis meet with Anchor Michael Maely at the WMBF News studio in November. Parents of missing woman Heather Elvis meet with Anchor Michael Maely at the WMBF News studio in November.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Eleven months have passed since Heather Elvis was reported missing in Myrtle Beach.

As the trial date for the two suspects charged with Heather's murder draws closer, WMBF News Anchor Michael Maely sat down with her parents.

Terry and Debbi Elvis shared their feelings on the trial and the painful wait for answers.

It has been 11 agonizing months, since Terry and Debbi Elvis have seen their daughter, Heather.

“It just gets worse; every day for me is harder,” Debbi said. “I never thought it could possibly be harder than it was, but it's harder.” “In so many different ways it's harder.”

“It's hard, every day's hard, every night's twice as hard,” Terry shared.

Their pain for the loss of their daughter, made worse, by the uncertainty of what happened to the 20-year-old last December, when Heather's car was left at Peachtree Boat Landing.

Nearly two months later, without the discovery of a body, authorities arrested Tammy and Sidney Moorer, charging the couple with Heather's kidnapping and murder.

Michael: Walk me through, what went through your mind when Tammy and Sidney were charged with Heather's murder.

Terry: The word itself [murder] is almost impossible for me to use, I was relieved that someone was going to be held accountable, and I was distressed over what they were being held accountable for.

Faith tells you to hold onto hope, the charges tell you, there is no hope.

Debbi: The first thing that went through my mind is that they were quitting, they were giving up. They weren't gonna look anymore, that this was it and that wasn't the case. So, I'm grateful that they haven't given up looking, they're still determined to look [for evidence.]

Michael: If you want authorities to get as much evidence as they can, you also have to accept that they have to find Heather.

Debbi: I don't want them to find that Heather has been murdered, but I don't want them to find that she's still alive in some hell hole somewhere, which one would be worse? So what do you hope for? So, we're just hanging on that they find answers.

Terry: I want answers, but I'm deathly afraid of getting them. I know that I want them, I know that I need them, but I don't want the one that they have. It's human nature not to want that. So, the struggle is there for me daily, it's every night when I go to bed.

That struggle, evident with every call from authorities.

Last month, police in Florida said remains found there did not appear to be Heather's.

Terry and Debbi said the police's discovery was relief, but it was also scary.

“It's scary, because it could have been [Heather,] but it also hurts, because it's somebody else, it's still somebody,” Terry said.

“It makes you know there's another family out there that somebody has stolen their child away and they didn't know where she was until now and you're glad that now they know, but now, they know,” Debbie explained.

Gag order

Some of the answers the family seeks, may be tied up in evidence, sealed by a gag order, which both say they respect.

To learn more about the gag order, click here.

“There are certain things that I know I don't need to know,” Terry said. “I know we as a family don't need to know yet,” he continued.

“There's certain things I wish we didn't know,” Debbi admitted.

“But those things will be revealed to us when they need to be,” Terry said.

“And all those things don't matter until they're put into context of the trial,” Debbi added.

“As long as the defense attorneys are privy to all of it, there should be no problems with the trial itself and also with Heather's investigation and finding her and where she is, I don't want that impeded at all,” Debbi said. “I don't want somebody's nosiness getting in the way of them finding my daughter.”

And without the discovery of Heather, Terry and Debbi say any potential conviction for Heather's murder, won't bring them what they say they need.

“I need to know what happened, to have any closure, we need to know,” Terry admitted. “If convicted, there's nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

“Even if it wasn't to have some sort of sway on sentencing, just for doing the right thing, just for showing there's some humanity still, inside of a person. I hope for that and I pray for that,” Terry admitted.

“Best case scenario is somebody confesses to where [Heather] is and what happened, before it even goes to trial,” Debbi said.

With a confession, the Elvis family wouldn't have to go through the trial, their children wouldn't have to suffer through that.

Forgiveness

Without a confession or details about where their daughter is, the two say right now they can't forgive, but it is something they've thought about.

“As hard as it is to think it, I could forgive it. But it doesn't mean that there's still not an accounting for actions, I wouldn't want to forgive it, but I know that I could,” Terry said.

“I'm not there yet, I know I can be if I was willing, but I'm not ready to be willing yet,” Debbie admitted.

“But right now, what do we forgive?” Debbi asked. “We don't know yet. There's no answers, so what do we forgive, even if I thought I could at this point, what is it that I'm forgiving?” she asked again.

Social media

The Elvis family says they're grateful for the work of law enforcement and many of the more than 55,000 supporters on the FindHeatherElvis Facebook page, but they say social media has also brought them attacks, from people they say don't know Heather, defacing her character and making false accusations.

“Families are blaming us, because they've been arrested,” Debbi told WMBF News.

Meanwhile, as the twelfth month approaches since they heard their daughter's voice or saw her smile, they simply can't fully give up all hope. The Christmas tree and gifts still standing as proof.

“How do we process that she could be gone?” Debbi asked. “If I were able to process that, her presents wouldn't still be there,” she admitted. “But they're still there and as long as they're there, there's hope.”

But beneath that hope, is very raw reality, the most likely best news they could get, is the worst news any parent could imagine.

“With Heather, no matter where she is, or what happened, I can't take care of her, I can't do anything for her and that's what's so horrible, is I'm supposed to and I can't,” Debbi cried.

Terry and Debbi said authorities have received thousands of tips, but they urge anyone who may have seen anything suspicious last December at or around Peachtree Boat Landing to call police.

They're hoping maybe an anonymous tip, could still bring them answers.

Meanwhile, as the twelfth month approaches since they heard their daughter's voice or saw her smile, Debbi and Terry Elvis said they simply can't give up all hope. But closing in, is the very raw reality, that the best news police may give them, is the worst news any parent could imagine.

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