"We are two strangers who know every shameful secret, every hidden freckle, every fatal flaw in each other."
It was the 18th of December 2013. A Wednesday. Twenty year old Heather Elvis just got back to her condo at 1.15 am that morning in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States. She had been on a date with Stephen Schiraldi. On the way back to her condo, they walked through different neighborhoods to look at the Christmas lights and decorations. She had fun that night.
Around half an hour after Heather got home, she called her roommate. Her roommate was out of town but Heather wanted to let her know how the date went. She loved telling her roommate about her love life. She was young and having fun. Neither of them knew it then but that would be the last time they would speak to each other.
The next day, the 19th of December, police called to the home of Terry and Debbie Elvis. Heather was their middle child. They had a son who was older than Heather called Christopher and a daughter, Morgan, who was younger than Heather. When police called to the house, the officer told Terry that a vehicle registered to him had been found abandoned down at Peachtree Landing. The car, a green Dodge Intrepid, was parked in an area that had bad lighting. It was Heather's car. Terry went down with the officer to look at the car.
The car itself was a mess inside but that was normal enough for Heather's car. There appeared to be nothing wrong with the car, it didn't look like it had broken down and there were no signs it had been involved in an accident. Terry tried to reach Heather but he couldn't so he called all of her friends and coworkers. Heather worked at a pub called the Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed bar and grill, and she had recently started a new job at Artistic Design as a makeup artist. Terry spoke to everyone that he could reach. None of them knew where she was.
A huge search began.
As police investigated the case, they discovered that Heather had had an affair a few months before she went missing. Heather had been in a relationship with thirty eight year old married man Sidney Moorer. Sidney was married to Tammy Moorer and they had four children. Sidney and Heather met through work at the Tilted Kilt. She was a waitress there and he was the maintenance man. Heather liked older men and for a time, she really seemed to like Sidney.
Even though Sidney was married, he told her that he had an open marriage with his wife. He could have relationships with other women and she dated other men. But when police spoke to Sidney, he told them that the affair ended months ago and the last time he saw Heather was in October. Tammy told them that she never even met Heather and they had just returned to Myrtle Beach on the 11th of December after being in Disneyland for almost a month on vacation with their children.
Police retraced Heather's movements. They believed she made it back to her condo in the early hours of the 18th of December after her date with Stephen. They knew she called her roommate. But they discovered from her cell phone records that there were a number of other calls placed and taken that night. One of the calls that Heather answered was made from a payphone.
Police obtained surveillance footage from Peachtree Landing and what they saw prompted them to bring Sidney in for questioning.
Police asked Sidney if he called Heather in the early hours of the 18th of December. He said that he didn't. But when police revealed they had obtained surveillance footage of him parking across from a payphone and making a call from the payphone, the same payphone that Heather received a call from, he admitted that he had contacted her. According to Sidney, he contacted Heather to tell her to leave him alone as she had been leaving notes on his car. He said that he used the payphone as he did not want his wife to know that he was contacting her. Police also saw a car that looked like his car on the surveillance footage at Peachtree Landing. And they believed that not only did Sidney know what happened to Heather but Tammy knew too.
Sidney Moorer and Tammy Moorer
Sidney and Tammy were arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping. Police believed they had a motive to want Heather dead. There were rumors in the area that Heather may have been pregnant with Sidney's baby. Her coworkers noticed she had put weight on before she went missing and when she took a pregnancy test, it read "error." Police also obtained surveillance footage of Sidney at Walmart on the 18th of December at 1.12 am buying a pregnancy test. That was before he placed the call from the payphone to Heather. Police believed that he lured her out of her condo and asked her to meet him at Peachtree Landing where he was waiting for an unsuspecting Heather with Tammy. The last location of Heather's cell phone was traced to Peachtree Landing at 3.42am.
Police do not know what happened after that but further surveillance footage they obtained showed that just a few days after Heather was last seen, Sidney and Tammy thoroughly cleaned their car. The intensive clean took over an hour and a half and afterwards they set the rags used to clean it on fire. Tammy also searched her yard using a mirror.
Before their Trial, the murder charges were dropped. They were indicated on conspiracy to kidnap charges.
Sidney faced Trial first but due to a hung Jury, that Trial was declared a mistrial and a retrial was ordered. Sidney Moorer
Before his second Trial for the kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap charges, Sidney faced Court for obstruction of justice. Police argued that he lied to them which hindered their investigation. He was found guilty and sentenced to ten years.
At Tammy's Trial, it was the Prosecution's case that Tammy was furious when she discovered that her husband was having an affair with a twenty year old. And her fury turned to absolute rage when she heard the rumors that Heather may have been pregnant.
In their opening statement, the Prosecution claimed that Tammy wanted to get Heather out of the picture and Sidney was:
“willing to do anything to please that woman.”
The Prosecution submitted a number of text messages into evidence. Tammy sent Heather a number of threatening text messages such as :
"Hey sweetie, ready to meet the Mrs.?"
"I think you are a little obsessed with me. I'm nobody you need to worry about anymore."
The Prosecution also told the Court how Tammy controlled Sidney after she found out about the affair. He was forced to sleep handcuffed to the bed every night so that he could not sneak out and Tammy made him get her name tattooed above his crotch.
Footage was shown in Court of Tammy's interview with police. She said:
"She's not right. She's not normal. I look 20. I've partied with bands constantly. I wasn't that kind of girl and, believe me, I had the friends to make me that kind of girl and I didn't do it, so there's something not right with her. I have boyfriends. We have an open marriage. I could care less if he has sex with 100 people. I mean that doesn't really bother me."
Heather's roommate, Brianna Warrelmann, testified that Heather was afraid of Tammy. When Tammy found out about the affair in October 2013, she called Heather over 60 times in one day alone. She said:
"If you don't stop talking to my husband, I'm going to come after you. You're going to have problems with me."
Tammy also sent Heather explicit images of her and Sidney in bed together. After Heather went missing, Tammy wrote on FaceBook:
"Well Sidney cheated on me in the months of September/October with a psycho whore who has since went missing."
But Tammy's Defense was that she didn't want Heather to come to any harm and she was as concerned about her as her parents were. It was the Defense's case that Tammy never even met Heather and she wasn't worried about the affair as her marriage to Sidney was an open one.
Sidney Moorer and Tammy Moorer
Tammy claimed that she was home the night that Heather went missing. She testified and told the Court that she arrived home at 3.10am that morning, the 18th of December, and sent her sister a text message. She then slept beside Sidney in the same bed. She said that she believed the police botched the investigation and she had no idea what happened to Heather.
Tammy was found guilty and sentenced to thirty years in prison.
Sidney's retrial began.
It was the Prosecution's case that along with Tammy, Sidney lured Heather to Peachtree Landing. They referred to the surveillance video that showed Sidney walking to a payphone to call Heather on the day she disappeared. Phone records show that call was made at 1.35 am. Heather called the payphone back nine times between 2.29am and 3.05am. It was the Prosecution's case that Sidney would do anything to make Tammy happy and if she wanted Heather out of the picture, he was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen.
The Prosecution's case was a circumstantial case. They didn't know what happened to Heather or where she was and no body had been found. There was no evidence of a struggle at Peachtree Landing and nothing found to suggest she came to any harm in her car. But they believed that the events leading up to the 18th of December and the early hours of the 18th of December, proved beyond a reasonable doubt, that Sidney was guilty of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap. Sidney claimed that when he called Heather that morning, he told her to stay away from him. But Heather spoke to her roommate after that call and she told her that he said he was leaving Tammy for her. It was the Prosecution's case that he arranged to meet Heather at Peachtree Landing. But he had no interest in discussing their future.
The Prosecution also referred to Tammy and Sidney cleaning their black Ford F-150 on the 22nd of December 2013. The footage showed them extensively cleaning the vehicle on the outside and inside. They asked the Jury to look at the facts in the case-the fact there was an affair, the fact that Tammy was furious about it, the fact that there were rumors about a pregnancy, the fact that Sidney bought a pregnancy test the day Heather went missing, the fact that Sidney called Heather the day she went missing, the fact that he thoroughly cleaned his car afterwards. The Jury were not undecided at his second Trial. They took less than two hours to find him guilty.
Sidney was sentenced to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap.
Despite Sidney's conviction and Tammy's conviction, there are still many unanswered questions remaining about what happened to Heather and where she is. Heather had moved on from her affair with Sidney. She got a new job, started dating again and was looking forward to her future. But Sidney and Tammy were not prepared to allow Heather to move on with her life. They both know what happened to Heather.
Heather has never been found.
The comments below have not been moderated
"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello
Join Our Community
Check out our new Book Club!