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Heather Elvis case: Family holds vigil, police eye phone calls with older man

Poster announcing a candlelight prayer vigil for missing Heather Elvis.

Although the investigation into the disappearance of Heather Elvis has moved into its second month, the family of the young Socastee woman are still hard at work keeping her name in the news and hoping to generate tips, perhaps one that will lead Horry County police to the missing 20-year-old. The State reported Jan. 23 that Terry and Debbi Elvis held a candlelight vigil for their missing daughter Thursday night at Cypress Campground Resort near Socastee High School on the Intracoastal Waterway.

“It’s not getting easier, it’s harder,” Debbi Elvis said. “When a crisis happens, once it’s done and it’s over you deal with it. You cope with it. You accept it. Time heals. This just keeps getting worse and worse and worse.

“There’s nothing to accept. There’s nothing to do but hang onto that hope and pray for her."

About 100 people attended the vigil, heated lamps helping to fight back against the bone-chilling cold.

The Elvises are hoping the candlelight vigil will help move people to call in tips to the police. A slideshow of photos of Heather through the years was shown against a screen and paper lanterns lit by the family were released into the night sky.

The vigil took place just a couple miles cross-country from where Heather Elvis' vehicle was discovered by an officer on patrol. Terry Elvis had later identified the car as his (it was registered in his name) but there was no reason for it to be at Peachtree Landing, abandoned. He filed a missing person report.

The search for Heather Elvis began immediately. It was Dec. 19.

Also this week, new information has become public in the missing person case, albeit information that Horry County police have known since the beginning of the investigation: There were a set of phone calls made between Elvis and an older man after she was dropped off at her home following a date. My Horry News reported that prior to the disclosure, the last time there was activity on Elvis' phone was around 3 a.m.

Police records seem to indicate a focusing on the phone calls early on the morning of Jan. 18, according to documents obtained by Carolina Forest Chronicle. That phone activity occurred about four hours after Elvis’ last known whereabouts on Dec. 18, which was at her apartment where she'd been dropped off after a date. The date, an acquaintance Elvis had known in high school, noted she was in a cheerful mood when he last saw her at around 2 a.m.

According to the report, the man identified as participating in the phone calls was twice her age.

The police report also noted that Elvis’ roommate, Brianna Warrelman, had told officers that Elvis “seemed like she was crying and upset.” This was after Elvis reportedly had a conversation with that same older man. The older man was said to have had a prior relationship with Elvis, had even said he had left his wife and wanted to be with Elvis.

There also seems to be another man, a coworker of Elvis', police have investigated. The police report notes that the coworker was “possibly being abusive” and “possibly violent.”

According to Horry County police spokesman Lt. Robert Kegler, both men identified in the report as being connected to Elvis were interviewed. However, neither have been named as a suspect in the investigation.

The reward for information about Heather Elvis' disappearance and her whereabouts was increased to $30,000 Monday. Anyone with information about Elvis’ whereabouts should call Horry County police at 915-TIPS.

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