Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Men Arrested in Heather Elvis Case

This is going to be interesting:

how will the legal system deal with two men who involved themselves into the investigation into the disappearance of Heather Elvis?

One of the two men is a friend of Terry Elvis, Heather's father.  They have been accused of posting false information.  What makes this relevant may be the argument that they posted "in good faith" rather than deliberately posting false information. 

Depending upon how this turns out, it could impact the myriad of people who call police departments claiming to have "psychic" powers in missing persons cases.  Due to the extremity of emotions in missing persons cases, families can fall victim to those who seek to prey upon their vulnerability.  

William Christopher Barrett, 52, and Garrett Ryan Starnes, 25, were both arrested and detained, according to information provided by the Horry County Sheriff’s Office.
Police say Barrett began posting misleading information on Facebook regarding the disappearance of 20-year-old Elvis, who was last seen Dec. 17. The release states Barrett’s posting “created a community reaction that diverted investigating officers.”
In the case of missing Baby Ayla, police eventually announced:  "no more 'psychic' tips accepted" from the public.  Most psychic tips show common sense vagueness, while some show deception.  "I see her, she is is dark..." as a general principle. 
'Pyschics' have never recovered a missing person.  The success rate odds may be less than winning the lottery, yet with the popularity of some television shows, and the "graduation ceremony" provided by social media, those who seek out this form of a attention has multiplied greatly. 
Heather Elvis has been missing since Dec. 18, when she called a family member to talk about how a date she was on had gone well, her family said, around 3AM. 
 She was reported missing two days later when her car was found at a boat ramp about 8 miles from her home, police have said.
Terry Elvis said, “I’m really disheartened. That’s not the kind of arrest we’re looking for. This is an unnecessary distraction.”
Lt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for the Horry County Sheriff’s Department, commented on the arrests: 
“It was an investigation separate from law enforcement,” Kegler said.
Police have accused Barrett of questioning potential witnesses. This may become problematic in the legal system:  is Barrett not allowed to speak freely to people he thinks may help the case? What about journalists?  Should an investigative journalist seek out those who may be connected to the case?  
“It was also discovered that in an effort to conduct a separate investigation from law enforcement, he began questioning a witness in an attempt to gain confidential information about the law enforcement investigation,” according to a press release from police. “In addition, he conducted an independent search, where potential evidence was uncovered and did not immediately report it to law enforcement.”
The police investigation has not found Heather Elvis, which may produce some sensitive emotions within law enforcement. Professionals want to find her, and likely there are some who have dedicated themselves to this cause.  Not only might feelings of competition be aroused, but the plain fact of wasting time can cause heightened aggravation, especially as patience grows thin. 
Police accuse Starnes of deliberately posting fabricated misleading information  and then relayed this false information to law enforcement. He posted it online, causing  officers to obtain time eating warrants which diverted them from their actual work.  This is where paid man-hours is lost, and should the state prove Starnes did so knowingly, a crime has taken place.  Not only is money wasted, but time that should have been spent searching for Heather, was lost.  

Yet, what if these two were investigative journalists or private investigators?  As a family member, would you want all the help possible?  

The posting of deliberate false information is "not good faith" information, the same as 'psychic' tips, and if seen as an intentional or even inadvertent diversion of resource, it should be punished. The state will have to show that either one, or both, knew that the information they gave to police was false. 

As to uncovering evidence while not releasing to police, this is unthinkable, and more about personal vain glory than helping assist the Elvis family.  
This blog will continue to highlight Heather's case, helping to keep her name and face in the public mindset. 
Read more here:

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

i agree with your view on this matter.
he began questioning a witness in an attempt to gain confidential information about the law enforcement investigation,”

when did it become illegal to ask questions in an attempt to gain confidential information about the law enforcement investigation? all the witness had to say was they couldnt talk about confidential info. it is on the witness, not the person asking.

potential evidence was uncovered and did not immediately report it to law enforcement.

how can it be expected or known/proven that he knew it was potential evidence? there is a lot i find and know that i do not report to LE, but hey maybe i know the one key evidence that is needed and just dont know i do.

these charges are totally ridiculous and it is false arrest. i hope this guy sues the crap out of LE over this.
if this goes unchecked, LE/our goberment, will have desecrated our constitution once again and we will never get it back.

Carnival Barker said...

Is this police department for real?? How many girls in Myrtle Beach have gone missing in the past several years and their cases remain unsolved and go cold??? I don't blame Heather Elvis' family and friends for not having confidence in law enforcement's ability to find her, based on their poor track record in other Missing Persons cases. Are they effecting these arrests to portray that they are doing SOMETHING with regard to her case, because I haven't seen a statement or a press conference or an update from them regarding her case.

When Elizabeth Smart was missing her father implored the police to release to the public the composite sketch of her abductor. They refused. Finally Ed Smart held his own press conference and released the sketch ... and his daughter was found days later because of that sketch. My point is that the police don't always know best.

Anonymous said...

I am conflicted. I wonder if there is more to the story because if not, the arrests seem to be borderline illegal. However, part of me wonders if there is question of their involvement.

Anonymous said...

police eventually announced:
"no more 'psychic' tips accepted" from the public.
'Pyschics' have never recovered a missing person.
the same as LE can discern between a real lead or tip and ignore psychic tips, LE also has learned to trash tips from facebook users. as in the Hailey Dunn case, the inept police stated "no more tips from facebook".

elf said...

One of the men arrested is a friend of Mr Elvis, huh? That's interesting. Don't police investigating missing persons first eliminate close family and friends as suspects first? In most missing person cases isn't it more of a possibility that someone close to the missing person has something to do with what happened? Where and how did these men stumble upon this potential evidence? If someone close to the case provides false leads to hinder an investigation wouldn't that make police wonder why?

Katprint said...

Legally, anybody can conduct voluntary interviews with potential witnesses so long as they don't engage in witness tampering or other misconduct like hack into the police computer server to learn the identities of the potential witnesses or impersonate a law enforcement officer in order to get the witness to talk to them. They can also search for evidence and if they find evidence, they don't have any legal obligation to notify law enforcement much less to do so "immediately" so long as they don't in any way change the circumstances of the evidence (touch it, move it, cover it with a box, whatever.)

What is legal can often be different from what is ethical, however. It is not illegal to borrow money from friends then declare bankruptcy to avoid paying them back, or to cheat on your boyfriend/girlfriend, or to lie to prospective dates about where you live/work/spend vacations. It is not right but not illegal.

Anonymous said...

I smell marbles.

Unknown said...

What I'm getting from the article and the statement LE made about the arrests is that LE feels their toes were stepped on.

“It was an investigation separate from law enforcement,” LT. Kegler said."

When I first heard of these arrests the other day, I thought they meant these two men fabricated information and posted it to impede the investigation, and send LE on a wild goose chase.

Now it sounds more like these two guys are friends of the Elvis family, trying to help find Heather, and the 'time diverted' from the investigation, was the time LE used to look into their 'seperate investigation', and arrest them!

These charges ahould be dismissed. LE is implying that ONLY they are allowed to ask questions of 'potential witnesses'. Anyone could be a 'POTENTIAL' witness! Same for claiming they withheld potential evidence, 'POTENTIAL' is the key word here. Anything they found could be deemed 'potential evidence', because they don't know what happened to her.

LE would have been better off asking these guys to back off, and staying focused on finding Heather and getting justice for her.

Maggie said...

My theory is Terry Elvis had something to do with Heather's disappearance.
Check out the most recent post on his findheatherelvis facebook page where he threatened to take down the page if a few people (out of the thousands of people supporting him on the page and doing whatever they can to help get out the word about Heather) dont stop arguing on the page. He threatens to take it down in a long rambling post and says he will have no problem continuing the search "out of the public eye"! I thought innocent parents cared nothing of what is said about them (or "arguing" on their fb page; I though their only single-minded concern was finding their child. Why is there no description of the last outfit Heather was seen wearing on the findheatherelvis fb at the top? How come no height, weight, eye color? THIS GUY IS A PHONY! Why would he EVER threaten to take down the page knowing it could be invaluable for finding her???

~mj said...

I believe that the public is not getting the whole picture.

Just a thought here, what if the Elvis family feels the Moorer family is responsible and the friend questioned someone to find out if the police were hot on their trail?

What if this friend then fabricated the text messages to implicate the Moorer's?

There are so many what if's that with this little bit of info we couldn't possibly make a judgement call on whether these are trumped up charges or not.

Anonymous said...

first time i ever agreed with Jen Ow @ 12:57 PM
LE feeling a little butthurt? over stepping the bounds of their authority? police bullying? misuse of their power?
we need a protest set up.

Anonymous said...

OT Quote from Josh Bearden, the husband of missing woman Leanne Hecht Bearden

"She left on her own free will. That is what she did. That is absolutely true, but what happened after she left the house on her own free will I don't know."

Statement Analysis Blog said...

I wonder if he is repeating a police quote.

It is usual language.

I do think that what is missing here is an argument that preceded her walk.


Anonymous said...

I can only assume the cops suspect these two men for more than fake texts. This friend Barrett - he could have been obsessed with Heather - like some sleezy waiting in the wings guy - and enlisted the younger guy for help. The fact that Terry defends them so vehemently --- .

I'm not sure what to think about Terry Maybe he doesn't want to see it. OR maybe he KNEW about it. Or they are really just these over zealous guys who wanted to post fake texts and hurry the arrests along. But the fact that terry KNEW withuot question they were fake, aldcalled them false hope. Terry never gets off my suspect list. he always seems to know too much. -

Anonymous said...

since when does it take two men to post fake texts? does one hold down the computer while the other types?

more charges coming soon -- @ least more suspicion already there on part of police.

Anonymous said...

i wouldn't be surprised if the police wish they could bring terry in for questioning too - and thats part of why they were eager to arrest his friend. the police have gone to be annoyed how terry rants on his fb page -- making threat, reffering to a bountys -- attempting to sway the community this way and that.

Trigger said...

Why did't Heather's family hire a private investigator if they didn't trust the police instead of posting things that could mislead LE?

I think that there is more going on here that we don't know about.

Maggie said...

Here's a thought: Heather's car was found parked at a dock. Heather's father Terry said in a TV interview that this spot was a place where Heather used to hang out and that he himself had been there many times in the past and had launched boats from the dock. Therefore, he said, he knows that it is very dark there at night, way too dark for her to have gone there by herself--he feels she had to be with someone she trusted.

My point in stating this information Terry's father gave is that it greatly narrows down possible suspects. Looking at this mathematically, there are only a few things that could have happened.

1) Heather drove to the dock with another person as a passenger in her car. If she in fact drove then it matters not if the person with her knew how to get to the dock. I find this scenario very unlikely, however, considering the late hour--it means that she would have had to have picked someone else up from their house and in this case, probably someone else in the house would have heard/noticed the person leaving or not being in the house.

2) Heather met someone at the dock. In this case, the person who met her there would have also have had to have known how to get there. Does Sidney or his wife know how to get there? I'm thinking probably not. Did Heather give them detailed directions on how to get there? For what reason would she have wanted or have agreed to meet either one there in the middle of the night? Considering that if Sidney had wanted to meet up with her, he could have come to Heather's apartment (I believe her roommate was even out of town, so they would have had complete privacy.) I find this scenario that she agreed to meet either one at the dock very unlikely.

3) The other possibility is that someone harmed Heather and then left her car at the dock, perhaps thinking this would throw investigators off. They might have wanted to give investigators the impression "oh, well Heather used to hang out there, so she must have driven there". In this scenario, the person who would have harmed her and left the car there WOULD HAVE HAD TO KNOW HOW TO GET THERE AND ALSO THAT SHE USED TO HANG OUT THERE. Who knows this information? Well, Terry does. Does Sidney? Have police questioned him about this? I strongly suspect that Heather was harmed and her car left at the dock. Logically, one has to ask who knew that Heather used to hang out at the dock and knew how to get to the dock?

Statement Analysis Blog said...

I have not seen any deception in Terry Elvis.

Please use caution:

When someone has a preconceived notion, the temptation is to put every statement into the notion, rather than being led by the statements, and staying within scientific principle.

This is no better exampled than in the Amanda Knox case.

For some, no amount of evidence, linguistic or otherwise, will persuade them. The mind is shut. The thought process disengaged.

Don't let it happen here.

If you feel that Terry Elvis is deceptive, or is withholding information about his daughter, plainly state it:

The quotes

the analysis

If I have missed something, please point it out. Otherwise, it becomes the most twisted cartoon like viewing of quotes.


JerseyJane said...

Was it Sidney's wife( Facebook or interview with Chelsea Hoffman) that said that Sidney had sex with Heather in her car 3 times? If he was always being in Heather's car maybe that was their sex, romance, whatever spot to park. Just a thought.

Maggie said...

Peter--I apologize and will use more caution in forming conclusions about this case.
What I find difficult with analysis in this case as opposed to others, is that Terry's public writings seem to be almost entirely inwardly focused where he is examining his emotions. (With the exception of the writing he did where he examined the emotions of the perpetrator). Usually, whoever is speaking, take for example even a Justin DiPietro they are responding to more outwardly focused questions or events. Maybe I am wrong, but it definitely seems like much of what he says has to do with his own internal life. Maybe I am biased by the fact that the internal life of certain types of deceptive people is sometimes not the best source of truth.
So, I guess what I was going on was more behavioral indicators, some of which do seem to suggest innocence, others of which I do have questions about.
One minor thing is I definitely don't understand why he does not inform the public of what Heather was wearing when she went missing. As well as eye color, things like that. Also, when he threatens to take down the fb page dedicated to finding Heather over something as minor as a few people arguing (I don't know what they were arguing about) it does strike me as very odd, because although I can understand someone being frustrated by that, I can't imagine why anyone would even think about taking down a page which is reaching massive numbers of people and could be extremely helpful in finding his daughter.
I am certainly willing to exercise caution though in jumping to conclusions.

Maggie said...

JerseyJane--Very good point. It could well have been.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


He appears poetic by nature, so some things will sound 'different', but not entirely unexpected.


Unknown said...

Bingo JerseyJane!

Unknown said... does it feel to be right for the first time, lol?!

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

(I'm JUST JOKING, please don't be offended. )

Maggie said...

Peter--Very good point about him being poetic by nature and this would affect his writing and make it different from DiPietro or many of these other parents. It is too off-putting for me, personally, though, his focus this soon on creating these works of literature (so to speak) and so I admit I may be unfairly biased and not strictly sticking to the rules of statement analysis. I will try to do so.

C5H11ONO said...

"In addition, he conducted an independent search, where potential evidence was uncovered and did not immediately report it to law enforcement.”
Does this mean that the police arrested two because one of the uncovered "potential" evidence, not necessarily evidence. The police indicate he did not "immediately" call the police, which means police was contacted, but not contacted in what they deemed immediate.

Kellie Sue said...

Thank you Maggie! I've felt something is off about TE from day one.

Anonymous said...

Maggie; re your post @ 5:36 p.m., you might try using a little common sense, TO WIT;

How the hell could Terry Elvis convey a description of the clothing Heather was wearing on the night she disappeared when he did NOT see her that evening?

To further abate your common sense; in good faith and honest posts I've made, you recently accused me of being Tammy Moorer, THEN accused me of being Heidi Tuleda in a subsequent post, or whatever the hell her name is. So now I'm TWO different people in your mind, when I'm neither of those persons yet you fail to use even a particle of common sense.

As Patsy Ramsey might say (NOT!), 'you need to grow a brain'.

Maggie said...

Anon @ 7:40--How would he know what she was wearing? Well, let's about because she texted her father a picture of herself THAT NIGHT driving stick shift!!!!!!
I did entertain the notion you were Tammy Moorer before it clicked that you are the same writer who was criticizing Trista Reynolds for being uneducated and for being the "other woman".

JerseyJane said...

It's not Maggie fault, she has a talent zero-ing on your multi-facet personality, demeanor, and such. Anon, you kinda of justified the aura you present by adding Patsy Ramsey to your list... LOL The particle of common sense is definitely pointing in Maggie's direction!

Maggie said...

JerseyJane--Thank you! That anon is difficult to keep up with, when even gender seems to change sometimes lol, but sure do recognize the voice of the previous Trista basher. And now they are defending Patsy Ramsey...oh dear. Very convoluted!

Maggie said...

Phrases pulled from anon's post:


To further abate

in good faith and honest posts I've made

you recently accused

yet you fail to use even a particle of common sense."

I hear the voice of a lawyer, perhaps a trial lawyer. Someone with legal beckground.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the two men under arrest. i think terry talks so nutty cause hes in denial it was his own friend. i think barrett is mastermind. it was a lust thing or a revenge for money owed or both. but prob just od fashioned creepy rape murder. my reason for thining this? No reaso. on gods green earth itd take two grown men to post texts on internet. but two is better than one for a kidnapping.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why the mother has taken the very back seat. Terry Elvis is extremely vocal while Mrs. Elvis has given 1 or 2 statements, and brief at that. There is some unspoken dysfunctional family dynamic with Terry Elvis taking the lead.

As to the 2 arrests - Terry Elvis admits to knowing Bill Barrett, but says he does not know Garrett Starnes? Both men were extremely active on the Find Heather Elvis Facebook page, as was Mr. Elvis. He is being untruthful about his knowledge/knowing Garrett Starnes.

Anonymous said...

i believe the Bill Barrett incident is separate and unrelated to Garrett Starnes thing.

Anonymous said...

@ Maggie...... Yes, if you
If you live in Horry County, you know where Peachtree Landing is. In fact there are 2 turns between the landing and the older man's residence.....Google earth it......almost overly logical they could have met there in the wee hours.....

Tracy said...

I don't usually post but feel I have to based on some of what I've read here. I'm here in Horry County, live near where HE lived, and have been following the case closely since day one. In fact, I even reported possible evidence to police myself. When they didn't follow up, I contacted the FB page because I feared it would get moved or taken and someone helping the family took my info to check it out. I've heard I'm not the only one who has gotten no response from law enforcement. So you can see why the family and their friends are frustrated.

And I think that shared frustration is why Terry is not upset with Bill Barrett, his friend of five years that he believes was acting with good intentions. I don't believe TE knows Garrett Starnes. Hundreds of people post to that page--he could not possibly know them all.

I also think the violations for the two men were completely separate. I do wish they hadn't made these arrests right now because it may prevent people with potential tips from coming forward in the future.

However, I am pretty sure Barrett was probably warned before this happened. Shortly after she went missing, the searchers were focused on the landing and not searching near her apt. Barrett decided to announce his own search on the FB page near her house. The police were upset, saying they didn't have the resources to properly support both searches and an unofficial search could be a big problem for any possible prosecution. The family posted on FB they did not support the unofficial search for the same reasons, but then suddenly that AM they said it was on and it did go forward. I assumed the police must have grudgingly found someone to supervise it. But there's no way the police didn't warn him at that time about impeding the investigation.

They haven't said publicly what the violations exactly were, but my guess Is that could explain the comment about diverting resources. He also set up tip tents--a great idea, but if he posted any learned info on FB or tried investigating it himself instead of telling police that would be a big problem that the police would be justified in charging him for. Or if he published info about suspects--there has been a lot of harassment charges flying back in forth between one man and Heather's family. At any rate, I have a feeling the police felt they had to do something to try to stop Barrett from hurting the investigation.

And there is no way the dad is involved. There are at least two very good suspects in the case. Given all the sideshows going on (including comments he has made about potential suspects) I think the police have simply warned him to watch what he says. So he probably was just mimicking language they had used.