Couple charged with kidnapping in connection to Heather Elvis case
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Both the husband and wife arrested Friday in connection with the Heather Elvis investigation were charged with kidnapping on Sunday, in addition to the charges announced at their bond hearings Saturday morning.
The kidnapping charge was listed on the Horry County Public Index for both Tammy Moorer, and an official at J. Reuben Long Detention Center confirmed Sidney Moorer was also charged with kidnapping. Solicitor Jimmy Richardson confirmed Tammy and Sidney Moorer's kidnapping charges are directly related to the case of missing 20-year-old Heather Elvis; they are accused of allegedly kidnapping the woman missing since December 17.
Now that the Moorers have been charged with kidnapping, the next step will be for them to stand in front of the judge to hear their bond amounts. As of right now, that is not scheduled to happen Sunday, pending paperwork, and efforts on the part of the Victim's Advocate. Solicitor Richardson said a bond hearing is expected for both of them on Monday morning.
Sidney Moorer, 38, and Tammy Moorer, 41, faced a judge for the first time Saturday morning to hear their charges; each were charged with obstruction of justice and two counts of indecent exposure, but police said they expect more charges to be filed in this case.
"A lot is happening behind the scenes. In this particular case, they decided to charge for smaller things but I assure you heavier charges are coming," said Solicitor Jimmy Richardson. He explains a hold was placed on both Moorers, so neither can leave the detention center as more charges will be coming.
While they are separate now, Solicitor Jimmy Richardson explains once the second appearance and trial begins, they will be going through the legal track together.
"This is the preliminary step," Solicitor Richardson added. "Police are not slowing down their investigation until we get to the point where were able to go forward and prove the guilt or the innocence."
Giving out any more information on what those additional charges could be could jeopardize the case.
Solicitor Richardson says the aim is "not to deprive the public information or the family. But right now it could do more harm than good to say what is coming, why it's coming."
During the bond hearings, no attorneys were present. At around 3 p.m., attorney Greg McCollum showed up at J. Reuben Long Detention Center and explained because of the nature of this case and how fast it is moving this weekend, the chief public defender called him in to talk to Tammy Moorer.
"The most cautious approach to take is separate lawyers," McCollum said. He explains attorney Kirk Truslow is talking to Sidney Moorer. While this is the first time he is sitting down with Tammy, McCollum anticipates defending her throughout this case, even if more charges are handed down.
"There's been a long investigation, you have either a missing person or possibly a homicide, so clearly that's in the public domain, that's what the focus of this has been," McCollum said. "At this stage, I don't know what's happening for sure in the future, but I wouldn't be surprised if she or others were charged with a more serious crime."
Because this is a high profile case - there could be some challenges to the defense in choosing a jury that is impartial to the case.
"In any trial that has a lot of publicity, there are steps in place that a judge takes to make sure the jurors that are selected are impartial and have not already formed opinions on the case," explained McCollum.
A hold was placed on both Sidney and Tammy Moorer pending additional charges, meaning neither could post bond to be released Saturday. Bond was set at $20,000 for both for the initial charges announced Saturday; a second appearance was scheduled for May 2, and a trial for June 27 at 8:30 a.m.
Each count of indecent exposure charge has a punishment of up to three years in prison, and up to 10 years for the obstruction of justice charge.
The solicitor explains it will be up to the judge to decide if the years will be served consecutively or concurrent, meaning they could face up to 16 years in jail.
Tammy Moorer told Judge Dennis Phipps that this situation has caused her to lose her job, and talked briefly about her family, including her 8 and 14-year-old boys and 12-year-old girl.
Neither husband nor wife wanted to make an additional comment on the case.
Moorers arrested Friday, search warrant Executed
The Moorers were taken into custody by police Friday morning as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Heather Elvis, Horry County Police officials confirmed.
Horry County Police were at the Moorer's home in the 8700 block of State Highway 814 Friday morning executing a search warrant, Lt. Kegler confirmed.
"The search warrant was executed in an attempt to identify potential evidence based on new information obtained through expert analysis of previously seized surveillance tapes in the area along with financial discrepancies filed with the State of South Carolina on behalf of the occupants of the residence," according to a news release from HCPD.
Lt. Kegler said he believed that the Moorers have three juvenile children.
"The only comment I will make at this time is that they are not in any type of danger," Lt. Kegler told reporters at the scene.
J. Reuben Long Detention Center records show that Tammy Moorer was booked at 8:50 a.m. Friday morning, and Sidney was booked at 11 a.m.
Tammy is the wife of Sidney Moorer, who has been targeted on social media for his supposed involvement with Heather Elvis.
Investigation into Heather Elvis' disappearance continues
Elvis' car was found abandoned at Peachtree Landing in mid-December, not far from the Moorer's house. Police have been looking at surveillance footage from all across the area, trying to find any clues pointing to possible suspects since her disappearance.
Based on what investigators saw from those cameras, police say they were able to carry out the search warrant before taking the Moorers into custody. Lt. Kegler says the search warrant carried out Friday follows new evidence investigators recently came across.
Police did not release any specifics into what the surveillance video showed, only adding that it did help investigators move towards making these arrests.
Members of HCPD, along with the State Law Enforcement Division, the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office, the US Marshal Service, and the South Carolina Highway Patrol executed the search warrant. Reporters and witnesses confirmed that a K-9 unit was also at the scene.
Lt. Kegler said for the time being on Friday the investigation was focused on the Moorer's home, and officers were not back searching for Heather Elvis near Peachtree Landing.
Police did not rule out the possibility of there being more arrests in the case.
"That's all going and depends on how the execution of the search warrant goes, and the ongoing investigation continues," added Lt. Kegler.
A tent will be set up in front of River City Cafe by the Swingbridge in Socastee from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Sunday to take tips, hand out flyers, and sell t-shirts, according to Heather Hucks Johnson, a community organizer.
"If anyone knows anything or can think of anything that may help us locate Heather Elvis please come out," Johnson stated.
Over two months since Elvis went missing
Since 20-year-old Heather Elvis went missing on December 17, the case has gained local, state and national media exposure, a Facebook account that has attracted more than 45,000 followers, and a reward for information that has grown to $30,000.
Elvis' car was found abandoned at Peachtree Landing near Socastee on December 19. She was scheduled to work at the Tilted Kilt on December 20, but never showed up, according to her father.
Click here for an in-depth report with more details about the investigation from interviews with Elvis' father, law enforcement, and friends of the family.
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