A Myrtle Beach father has added $9,000 to the reward for his missing daughter -- the same day a new organized search started and a week after the first search was conducted for her near the Waccamaw River in Socastee.
The reward is now up to $20,000 for Heather Elvis, age 20, who was last heard from on Dec. 17 and whose abandoned car was found on Dec. 19 near Peachtree Landing in Socastee.
Terry Elvis, Heather's father, told WBTW that he has personally added the extra money to the reward.
Also Friday, financial gifts -- cash or check -- are now being accepted in a fund named "Find Heather Elvis" at any South Carolina First Citizens branch. This fund was developed to help the family with the ongoing costs related to the search and rescue of Heather Elvis.
Donations are also accepted on the Findheatherelvis Facebook page. Donations are accepted online via Paypal and all major credit cards.
Several electronic billboards have gone up with Heather's photo and information about her disappearance. They are located on SC 544 and US 501, among other areas along the Grand Strand.
A new organized search was started Friday morning with the CUE Center and it is expected to last all weekend. Several volunteers showed up for the new search.
Monica Caison, the Executive Director of CUE, said they started around 8:30am Friday morning with more than 20 boats and kayakers in the waterway at Peachtree Landing.
"This is where we were asked to search by Horry County. And now we're monitoring
the waters and just looking for any clues. You can pass an area and then someone can come through and see something you didn't see the first time. So we're just trying to eliminate this area so we can move fully away from it all together," said Caison.
Caison said law enforcement and retired law enforcement were on scene volunteering with the organization. But this case has also attracted strangers like Matt Lamay who just want to help.
"It broke my heart so I figured the least I could do was volunteer some of my time. Not sure where she is but I have a sister her age, just really worried that she's lost out there," said Lamay.
Elvis' family member from Kentucky also made the trip to take part in the search.
"I don't know how you feel. You just sort of are in shock and don't really believe anything that's going on. You always hope for the best," said John Harmon, Heather's great uncle.
As volunteers kept their eyes on the water hoping to find answers, Caison said they also used camera equipment, all in an effort to search as much of the area as possible. And while she wouldn't give specifics, she said this is not the only area they search.
"This is just where we are staging because it's the most convenient for parking and what not but we have other teams out on other locations," said Caison.
Her father, Terry Elvis, has printed dozens of missing poster signs for his daughter, who worked at the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery.
He told News13 this time of the year was Heather's favorite.
"Two days before she went missing she sent me a text just like every Christmas...she would send me an item that she wanted didn't say a word just sent the picture and those are under the tree, wrapped, they're ready, ready for her to come home," said Terry Elvis.
He said his daughter was about to start a new job as a makeup artist for a Myrtle Beach hair salon. A field she had always wanted to work in. She even taught her younger sister Morgan how to do her hair and makeup.
"It's been all sorts of colors just because she used to experiment a lot. So I went through very, very different colors. She loves anything with art. She did photography for a little bit and she designed clothing and then she did cosmetology because she had this dream goal of being the star of her own runway show and filming it and doing all the media coverage for it," said Morgan Elvis.
Morgan said she is very close to her sister Heather.
"My sister was really my other half for a while there. And she's all I have to reach out to I'm not a very trusting person and so she knew me like nobody else did so I could trust her and that's hard," said Morgan Elvis.
Horry County Police, along with several other state agencies, as well as family and friends, have searched for clues as to where Elvis might be but, so far, no answers.
"I thought I knew the meaning of pain, I thought I knew the meaning of love, I thought I knew just how much my children meant to me. I had no idea how deep it runs. It's amazing, I never knew you could feel that way, so if anyone knows anything please come forward," said Terry Elvis.
He said the last time he saw Heather was on Monday the 16th, just a few days before she went missing. Family members write on social media Heather's phone has been turned off and was last active around 3am last Wednesday.
"At this point we've been, the community has come together just tremendously, people have been calling with the smallest of tips and apologizing. Don't apologize the smallest of tips could lead to the largest of finds. I appreciate every phone call, whether it's to offer support or information. Everybody in the community has called with information and that's what we're lacking is information. At this point if anyone knows anything, don't hesitate to call," said Terry Elvis.
If you have any information on Heather Elvis, please call the Horry County Police Department.
"If by any reason at all you should hear this Heather I love you your sister loves you we want you home," said Terry Elvis.
There is an $20,000 reward for information that leads to her location. Any tips concerning the disappearance of Heather Elvis can now also be emailed to email@example.com
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