Community gathers for Heather Elvis vigil 3 years after disappearance

Family, friends, and complete strangers came together countless times to search for the young woman.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Friends, family and community members gathered at Peachtree Landing on Sunday to remember Heather Elvis.

“A mother’s worst nightmare is that her child is forgotten about. I don’t want that to ever happen,” says Debbie Elvis.

Though it’s been three years since her daughter disappeared, Elvis is still hopeful someone will come forward with helpful information.

However, Sunday’s vigil was not just about keeping Heather’s memory alive – “It’s important that we do this every year. Because every year, somebody has lost somebody right before Christmas. Every year somebody is struggling,” says Debbie.

She says providing support for other people who have lost loved ones is almost therapeutic for her. “Today started very stressful and just doing things for other people helps me.”

Jim and Darlene Lonkert have attended almost every memorial the Elvis family has held over the last three years.

They say the gatherings help them work through their own grief, especially this time of year. “Christmas time it’s real hard to be without people … I mean, it doesn’t take the pain away. It eases it some. And to know that you’re not the only one,” says Darlene.

And she says with every vigil, and every year that passes since Heather’s disappearance, she’s reminded to “Love the people around you and let them know it, every single day of your life.”