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      Missing women cases bring fear factor to Grand Strand women

      Many young Grand Strand women are paying close attention to recent missing women cases in the area and some women say they're frightened for their own safety.

      Members of Sky Fitness Gym in Myrtle Beach can't avoid awareness of the cases. A flyer about missing Socastee woman Heather Elvis is posted on the gym's front door.

      Because of that case and others, gym manager Kara Gordon says, she no longer takes out the trash at night behind the gym. Now, she'll only do it during daylight hours.

      "I definitely look around and see what my surroundings are," Gordon said. "It's scary to know that these girls have gone missing close to here."

      Gordon has considered buying pepper spray and taking a self-defense course.

      Club member Liz Maynor says she's doing a bit more to stay fit these days, and she only goes out at night in groups.

      "I guess I would definitely make sure I wouldn't migrate away from my friends while I'm out, so that I don't get lost or taken or anything," Maynor said.

      Sexual assault services coordinator Bevelyn Mitchell says the most important thing is for women to always be aware of their surroundings and call attention to themselves if something happens.

      "You can actually yell and say, 'This man in this white shirt is bugging me, somebody call police.' So let somebody know if you're in some kind of danger," Mitchell said. "Yell, scream, make all the noise you can."

      Mitchell says she wonders if she's done enough to warn her own daughter, who's in the same age range as the missing women.

      Mitchell says she'd advise all women to take a self defense course and if they're going to get a weapon, be well-trained in how to use it.

      Finally, she says, women should trust their gut in every situation.

      "If it doesn't feel right for sure, it's probably not right. But you want to make sure that you trust your instincts, too," Mitchell said.

      Mitchell says a cell phone app called On Watch can alert your family and friends if you haven't been heard from in awhile. You can download the On Watch app here.