Police chief says Elvis case needs more police involvement than other missing person cases

A lot of law enforcement resources have been utilized in the Heather Elvis case so far.

Many NewsChannel 15 viewers and Facebook fans have inquired about the other people missing out of Horry County, asking why those cases don't get the same kind of attention.

To take one example, the vigils and searches for Zachary Malinowski last summer look eerily similar to those for Elvis this winter, but there was no multi-agency task force for Malinowski, who was last seen going to play basketball with a friend in Aynor last August.

In an interview Tuesday, Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes told NewsChannel 15 a seven agency task force was assigned to the Heather Elvis investigation because that case is different from Malinowski and the others.

Rhodes says in the Elvis case, police had so many tips to follow and so many viable persons of interest early on, they needed help to sort through them all.

"We had numerous people to look at and so we had a lot more leads from the very beginning," Rhodes said. "Now I don't want it to be confused, we are expending numerous resources on the other missing person cases as well, they are just not as public at this time."

Rhodes says Sidney and Tammy Moorer, charged with Murder in the Elvis case, were looked at as suspects from the start.

It took from December to February before the Moorers were arrested, but Rhodes says that's just what it takes to do a thorough investigation.

"We don't want to rush into anything. We need to make sure that we do everything the best that we can, and that's why it took two months."

This was the first major case in Horry County to have so much involvement by social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

That's both a blessing and a curse, Rhodes says. Some solid tips come in through social media, but there are false leads as well.

"We needed the manpower to filter through all of the information, but we didn't want to leave any stone unturned, so when information came to us, we definitely followed up on it."

Heather Elvis is still missing and Rhodes couldn't give us any precise locations where people should look, but she's asking hunters, fishermen and the whole community to be vigilant.

If you see anything out there that looks suspicious, call it in to police and she says they will follow up on it, and they'll continue to look into all the other missing persons cases before them.