HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Heather Elvis was last seen December 17, 2013. In the three years since that day, her family has been in despair and grief. On the anniversary of her disappearance, the Elvis family held a vigil at Peachtree Landing, where Elvis' car was found three years ago.
"It's a tribute to Heather. But the specific purpose for this event that we're having is it's for people who are struggling during the holidays," said Debbi Elvis, Heather's mother.
Peachtree Landing was where Heather Elvis' car was found three years ago Sunday. It is a dark place for the Elvis family. That is why it was lit by candles. The Elvis family is shining light in a place where light has been taken from them.
"The reason why we like to have the luminaries here is because it brings a lot of light to a situation that is very dark and has a lot of grief and dread and that kind of thing," Natalie Mijac, a family friend, said. "It helps us to remember that Heather's life wasn't dark and it wasn't dreadful. She brought everyone so much light. And that's what the luminaries are for and that's what they symbolize for us on this day."
The loss of their daughter isn't the only hardship the Elvis family is enduring this Christmas. Sidney Moorer has been charged in connection to Elvis' disappearance. His first appearance before a judge and jury ended in a mistrial after a hung jury could not make a decision on a verdict.
His retrial has since been moved to Georgetown County, though a date has not yet been set.
"It's still never easy to walk into that courtroom and relive everything that happened," Debbi Elvis said.
Heather's disappearance has been devastating on the Elvis family. Her mother says she hasn't been able to feel happy in the three years she has been missing.
For Heather's parents, Christmas will never be the same. They plan to continue to hold this annual event to bring hope back to other families that are in grief.