Elvis family hosts 'H.E.L.P.P.' event two years after Heather's disappearance
SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) - Two years since they last saw their daughter, and a week until their third Christmas without her, the family of Heather Elvis says it doesn't get any easier.
Heather was 20 years old when she went missing in 2013, and she remains missing today. Now two people are charged with her murder, but a trial date is uncertain.
"I just can't believe two years is here already," said Heather's father Terry Elvis. "Two years is just unfathomable, with no justice, no answers, no anything."
This year, however, the family is doing something different for the two-year mark. It's called the "First Annual Night of H.E.L.P.P. with Heather." The event takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday night at the Peachtree Landing in Socastee, where Heather's car was found after she went missing.
Heather's sister Morgan came up with the acronym, which stands for "Hope, Encouragement, Love, Purpose, and Perseverance. The family hopes that people don't just come to honor Heather, but also their lost or long-distance loved ones.
"It's a different kind of Christmas, because you get to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, where it really comes from is family and being together," Morgan Elvis said.
Heather's family says events like the one on Friday night are important, not only because it reaches back out to the community, but because it's another way to keep her name out there while they still seek justice. They say every day they strive to do just that, and a recent petition is the latest way of doing that.
"We're really tired of it," Terry said. "We're going to fight back."
The online petition focuses on removing the judge in Heather's murder trial, the Honorable Rupert Markley Dennis Jr. So far, nearly 2,000 people have endorsed it. It gives many reasons why the Elvis family says the judge may be prejudicial, including his past rulings, and his possible relationship with one defendant's father.
The petition also cites the judge's own words from 2014, saying in any appearance of bias, he would elect to recuse himself.
"I don't think that the judge would be inappropriate in this case, but it does give the appearance of it, based on his rulings and the way he's acted in the courtroom so far," Heather's mother Debbi Elvis said.
The Elvis family says, however the trial turns out, they just want to know it was fair.
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