When a wealthy Lowcountry power-couple confronts their financial manager over missing funds, they vanish from their island retreat. Embezzlement is just the beginning; unanswered questions haunt a tale of money, murder and suicide in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Investigators remove Dennis Gerwing’s body from the condo where it was found.
Article featured by Hilton Head newspaper, The Island Packet, whenever the Calverts–still missing–were declared legally dead.
Elizabeth and John Calvert smile in front of an iconic Hilton Head Island lighthouse.
Dennis Gerwing (left) and John Calvert (right) pose together at the marina where The Yellow Jacket was harbored.
Investigators from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department search The Yellow Jacket with the aid of a K9, hoping to find some trace of the missing couple who made it their part-time home.
Sources mentioned in this episode:
Police: Man in Missing Couple Case Kills Self (NBC News)
Police Search Home of Missing Hilton Head Couple’s Business Associate (The Island Packet)
Calverts, Missing 9 Months, Dead and Long-Time Suspect Likely Killed Them, Sheriff Says (The Island Packet)
10 Years Later, SC Couples’ Disappearance Remains a Mystery (The State)
Evidence: S.C. Couple Murdered in March (Savannah Now)
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The night she was attacked in her Florida home, Karen Gregory let out a scream so piercing that it carried for several blocks. More than a dozen neighbors heard her, but none called the police. By the time her body was discovered, thirty one hours later, the trail was already cold. The detective assigned to solve the murder ran down one blind alley after another, eliminating one suspect after another, until finally the evidence led him to the front door of one of his best friends.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - 23 days and still no sign of the Calverts. Now investigators are releasing new information on the case that Dennis Gerwing that he did in fact commit suicide ( see Person of Interest in Calvert Disappearance Case Found Dead).
Gerwing was the last person to see the Calverts. Today, Beaufort County sheriff PJ Tanner held a news conference about the latest developments.
After going over the preliminary autopsy report, police reports and speaking with many people who knew Dennis Gerwing, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is confident that Gerwing killed himself. "There was no one else involved," said Tanner.
Tanner says Gerwing was found in the bathtub and the cause of death, several cuts on his neck, wrist and thigh. "The weapon was at the crime scene it was in the tub with Dennis Gerwing," said Tanner.
The weapon, a knife taken from inside the condo where Gerwing was staying while his house was being cleaned.
Investigators also found two prescription pill bottles, an empty bottle of wine and two handwritten notes. One written on a bed sheet the other left in the bathroom. "It is his handwriting and we are still doing an analysis on the content of the notes," said Tanner.
Tanner says it could be next week before they tell us what those notes say.
Even though all the evidence points to suicide, the people who knew Dennis Gerwing well say they still find it hard to believe. "I think it's bizarre to say the least," said Peggy Weiters. She's known Gerwing for 20 years and never thought he would do something like this "He must have had a lot going on that people didn't know about to get that far. He is going to be missed."
Meanwhile, investigators continue to search for John and Elizabeth Calvert who have been missing since March 3.
"The first 24 hours of an investigation are very important and as the days move forward, it diminishes finding them alive, but we are still investigating this as a missing persons," said Tanner.
He says they have conducted several searches both on and off the Hilton Head Island, including Hickory Hill Landfill in Jesup. And just this weekend, they searched through the wooded areas in Sea Pines, but were unable to find anything. However, Tanner says they will continue to follow up on all leads.
Weiters and others who live in the area are hoping they aren't missing for much longer and this investigation ends with good news.
Tanner says they will continue to follow up on leads and conduct searches. If you have any information on where the Calverts might be, contact the Beaufort County Sheriff's office at 843.524.2777.
Reported by: Brooke Kelley, [email protected]
Are John and Liz Calvert Still Missing? Is Dennis Gerwing Alive?
On March 3, 2008, a couple from Hilton Head, South Carolina, disappeared without a trace. John and Elizabeth Calvert were never seen after their 4 pm meeting with their accountant on that day. The police registered a missing person case and launched a long and arduous search, but they were halted in their tracks by the sudden death of a person of interest in the disappearance. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Hometown Homicide: In Too Deep’ showcases this flabbergasting case of the couple’s disappearance and charts out the subsequent police investigation. Intrigued to know if John and Liz Calvert ever resurfaced? Here is what we found out.
How Did John and Liz Calvert Disappear?
John and Liz Calvert split their time between a home in Brookhaven and their yacht, the Yellow Jacket, on Hilton Head Island. Elizabeth worked as an attorney with the Hunter MacLean law firm in Savannah, Georgia, while her husband, John, owned four Hilton Head Island businesses. The Calverts were prominent people in the society and much loved by friends and family. Thus, it was shocking when the couple went missing from the tight-knit and peaceful community of Hilton Head Island.
Two months before their disappearance, Elizabeth Calvert, 46, noticed financial irregularities which made her and her husband want to stop using The Club Group’s bookkeeping services. Liz had also confronted the accountant, Dennis Gerwing, about the missing money. She met with Gerwing twice, on February 24 and March 2, following which Gerwing told her to return with her husband on March 3, when he promised to supply some documents the couple had requested.
On March 3, 2008, John and Liz promptly met Gerwing at The Club Group office. Witnesses saw John Calvert arrive sometime around 6 pm, while Liz arrived a little later. The Calverts switched their cell phones off before the meeting and that was the last time anyone ever heard from them. Elizabeth’s brother reported them missing the following evening when he could not get in touch with the couple.
Are John and Liz Calvert Still Missing?
John and Liz Calvert have never been found since their meeting on March 3, 2008. Even though their case remains open as a missing person incident, they were declared legally dead on October 22, 2009. In October 2011, the FBI Field Office in Columbia, S.C., received a letter and a detailed map from an anonymous tipster. The letter claimed that John and Liz Calvert’s remains were buried in a wooded area in Eastover, South Carolina. Based on the tip, the investigators combed the area for days but found nothing.
Who Was Responsible For John and Liz Calvert’s Disappearance?
According to Beaufort County officials, Dennis Gerwing was seemingly responsible for the Calverts’ disappearance. Immediately after the couple was reported missing, the police honed in on Gerwing as he was the last person to see them alive. The accountant said that the March 3 meeting lasted for about 15 minutes and ended at about 6:30 pm when Liz announced it was time for them to apparently leave for dinner.
Gerwing then recalled staying in his office for about 10 minutes and taking the William Hilton Parkway to his Hilton Head Plantation home. Officers noticed a cut on Gerwing’s hand, which looked similar to the kind of injury that can occur from cocking a gun. But the suspect said he had cut his hand on a broken wine bottle before driving to the south-end, where he stopped at a drug store to buy bandages. He also told the police that he then returned to work and stayed at the office till midnight before going home.
Gerwing’s statement was filled with inconsistencies which came to light as soon as the police searched his car and his house and went through the CCTV footage of the day. Friends of the Calverts said that the predictability of their lifestyle did not match the couple leaving for dinner at 6:30 pm. The Calverts also often ate at the same restaurant, paid for with their credit cards, but their credit cards remained unused since the meeting.
Gerwing was also found to be lying about the way he took to go back home as he was seen using his Palmetto Pass on the Cross Island Parkway toll. Deputies further checked up on his band-aid story and found him returning to the pharmacy a little while after buying the bandages to buy latex gloves. Gerwing was also found to have purchased all kinds of seemingly incriminating evidence the day of the disappearance, including a shovel and three dropcloths which, according to Sheriff P.J. Tanner, were large enough to wrap bodies in.
A search of Gerwing’s house and his car also revealed several bandages, a section of unused nylon rope, and an empty holster belonging to a Beretta .22. Investigators also examined the car he had been driving on the day of the disappearance and found the third-row seat to be missing. Gerwing tried to explain this by saying he wanted to move office furniture, a claim that was not verified by his colleagues.
Furthermore, when the police tried to trace Gerwing’s whereabouts after the meeting, they found that his cell phone was powered off early in the evening and was not powered on until midday the following day. Based on the evidence gathered, police asked Gerwing to come in for a second round of questioning, which led to the accountant lawyering up and stating that he had reportedly “already cooperated enough.”
Is Dennis Gerwing Alive Today?
A week after the couple’s disappearance and a few days after being questioned by the police, Dennis Gerwing was found dead in a villa in Swallowtail on March 11, 2008, the same day he was declared publicly as a person of interest by the police. When Gerwing’s attorneys, along with The Club Group President, Mark King, couldn’t get in touch with him, they alerted the deputies and the Hilton Head Island fire department.
The fire department then broke into his villa and forced open the upstairs bathroom door. Entering the room, they found Gerwing covered in blood, lying nude atop a comforter in the bathtub. According to investigators on the scene, Gerwing had slashed his left wrist, right inner thigh, right inner calf, left lower neck, and right lower neck with a cheap steak knife. The same knife was found beside him in the bathroom.
Blood spatter patterns and the lack of any foreign footprints or fingerprints indicated that the accountant was alone when he died. The autopsy also revealed a high dose of Benadryl in his system. Investigators also found two prescription pill bottles and two handwritten notes in which Gerwin confessed to embezzling the money and further stated that he had acted alone while committing the financial crime. None of the notes addressed the Calverts. The death was ruled a suicide.
Read More: Julian Williams’ Murder: How Did He Die? Who Killed Him?
Hilton Head couple still missing ten years later
HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WSAV) – Ten years ago, John and Elizabeth Calvert disappeared from their home at Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island. They’ve since been legally declared dead, but their bodies have never been found.
“The prominent couple vanished, March 3, 2008, without a trace; and ten years later, Hilton Head’s biggest mystery remains unsolved,” reads an excerpt from the book, “Deceit, Disappearance & Death”. It was published two weeks ago, co-authored by Pamela Martin Ovens.
“I lived here 39 years and I knew Dennis Gerwing, I knew John and Liz Calvert. I had worked with all of them in different ways. And so when the Calverts disappeared it was very interesting to try to figure out how to solve the mystery,” Ovens said.
Elizabeth Calvert was an attorney for UPS in Savannah. Her husband, John, handled boats in Sea Pines’ Harbour Town.
The couple disappeared the night they confronted their accountant Dennis Gerwing about stealing money from them.
“That was the last person to see them alive. And after that evening on the 3rd, the next day, Dennis was going around town saying, ‘I think I’m the last person to see them alive!'” Ovens said.
When interviewed by investigators, Gerwing’s story didn’t add up.
“There was a lot of suspicious activity on the part of Dennis Gerwing right around the time that he was supposed to meet with them on Monday, March 3 of 2008,” said Capt. Bob Bromage with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office found Gerwing cut his hand that night and bought bandages, latex gloves, and three large drop cloths. Sheriff P.J. Tanner said in a press conference at the time that the drop cloths were big enough to wrap bodies.
A week later, Gerwing committed suicide.
“March 11, 2008, about a week after the disappearance,” Bromage said, “Dennis Gerwin had, in fact, committed suicide, which has been verified by numerous forensic pathologists.”
He left behind a note admitting to embezzling money from the Calverts but didn’t mention their disappearance.
“It was highly suspicious… but Dennis Gerwing in those notes did not take the opportunity, knowing he was the primary person of interest in a missing person case, to deny or confirm it,” Bromage said.
Everyone who has heard the case has their suspicions…
“He probably did kill the Calverts,” Ovens said, “But he was not a bad person. He was a good person that did a bad thing.”
Ovens and a colleague, Charlie Ryan, wrote the book “Deceit, Disappearance & Death” about the couple’s disappearance, and they’re determined there’s more to be written.
“Were the Calvert’s murdered? Was it a professional hit? Were they alive and in a witness protection program?” the book reads.
“Someone’s keeping something a secret…” Ovens said.
“We received hundreds of possible leads of the last 10 years,” Bromage said, “We follow them up, but none have led us any closer to actually bring result of this case.”
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert, you can make an anonymous phone call to SC Crimestoppers at 1-888- CRIME-SC (274-6372).
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.Sours: https://www.wsav.com/news/local-news/south-carolina-news/hilton-head-couple-still-missing-ten-years-later/
Liz bodies calvert and found john
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - More details about John and Elizabeth Calvert's disappearance are being released. The Hilton Head Island couple has been missing for nine months.
On Wednesday, Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner held a news conference handing out two packets of information. One about the investigation itself and the other concerning the death analysis report of Dennis Gerwing, the man Tanner believes is responsible for their disappearance.
While there's still no sign of John or Elizabeth Calvert, Tanner is not expecting this case to end well.
"It's very doubtful they're alive and well," Tanner commented. "We hope we'd find them alive and well, but things aren't looking good.""
Nineteen pages were released with details on what happened days before and days after the Calverts disappeared.
John and Elizabeth went missing March 3 after a meeting with business associate Dennis Gerwing, who handled the Calverts' finances. The meeting was called after Elizabeth noticed financial irregularities. Days after their disappearance, investigators named Gerwing a "person of interest".
Tanner says during their interview with him, they noticed Gerwing had a cut on his hand. He said it was from a broken wine bottle, but Tanner says his story didn't check out.
Days later, Gerwing committed suicide in the bathtub of a Sea Pines villa, leaving behind a note.
In that note he stated:
"P.S. I have acted completely alone in all actions committed. I knew the risks of this happening and believe taking myself out of the game is the best way to move everyone as quickly as possible past all events. All anger should be directed towards me. Burn my body and dispose without service. It happened in SPC (Sea Pines Center) - nothing at Bent Tree house."
During their investigation, Tanner says much of Gerwing's story didn't check out. He says Gerwing purchased all kinds of incriminating evidence the day of their disappearance, including a shovel, latex gloves and three drop cloths.
"The tarps that were purchased by him were commercial tarps large enough to act in the same fashion as a body bag," said Tanner. "Three of them, you would have to speculate one was for one body, one for the other and the other for the back of the vehicle."
While Gerwing told a coworker he was using them for painting, according to the investigation report, "Neither of the three drop cloths nor the box of latex gloves purchased by Gerwing were ever recovered during the searches of his business, home or vehicles."
They even found dirt on the floor of his tidy home. Tanner says Gerwing likely removed the bodies from Sea Pines and disposed of them away from Beaufort County.
"He powered off his cell phone early in the evening and didn't power it on again until midday the following day, so he had 10, 11, 12 hours," said Tanner. "So we're looking at a five to six hour radius when the bodies could have been transported, if in fact that happened."
Tanner says he believes Gerwing used the items he purchased to bury them.
"You can't rule anything out, of course the dirt found in his home, the muddy shoes, the shovel, the fact he had ample time to drive far away from Beaufort County," Tanner said.
While the Calverts are still missing, Tanner says they believe Gerwing is their guy.
"It appears Dennis is responsible for their disappearance. Right now, we have him acting alone," he said. "We haven't associated him with anyone else. Of course that's still being looked at."
Despite the developments, Tanner says the Calverts' disappearance remains an active missing person's case.
Also at Wednesday's news conference was Nancy Cappelmann, a close friend of the Calverts. She said it was a lot of information to process, but that she was hoping for more. Something that would point to where the Calvert's are.
She adds that she and others aren't giving up hope that the Calvert's will be found.
To read the entire report on the Calvert investigation by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, click here.
Police: Man in missing couple case kills self
The Beaufort County sheriff says a business associate of a missing couple apparently committed suicide by slashing his inner thigh with a knife, deepening the mystery surrounding the case.
Sheriff P.J. Tanner released few other details at a news conference Thursday about the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert, who disappeared from their part-time home on this resort island about 10 days ago.
Investigators found the body of Dennis Ray Gerwing, 54, in a condominium Tuesday shortly after the sheriff's office identified him as a person of interest in the case. Two suicide notes were found, but Tanner refused to discuss their contents.
Asked if he believed the Calverts were dead or alive, Tanner says investigators were looking at worst-case scenarios and hoping for the best.
The Calverts had been in the process of severing their ties with the company Gerwing worked for when they disappeared March 3. Gerwing, who authorities believe was the last person to see the couple, was found dead in his condominium Tuesday.
Investigators said Gerwing had not been cooperating with authorities. They had searched his home, vehicles and office Saturday but would not say whether they found anything related to the couple's disappearance.
John Calvert, 47, and his 45-year-old wife run several businesses in the area, including managing boat slips at the marina where they live. Elizabeth Calvert also practices law with a firm in nearby Savannah, Ga.
They live part time on their 40-foot yacht in the gated Harbour Town community, known for its candy cane-colored lighthouse that is a backdrop for a professional golf tournament each spring. They also have a home in Atlanta.
Gerwing was chief financial officer of The Club Group, which the Calverts hired more than two years ago to run administration, accounting and human resources. In December, the couple decided it no longer needed the company and Gerwing was leading the transition out.
A spokesman for The Club Group wouldn't comment Wednesday about Gerwing's relationship with the Calverts, or say if anyone else in the company had dealings with them. The company said it had 21 years of business on Hilton Head Island without any allegations of wrongdoing.
"Everybody is obviously saddened," said the spokesman, Tony Gardo. "It's a sad situation."
There was no answer at the condominium where Gerwing's body was found Tuesday night by his attorney. The blinds were drawn shut. The two-story, wooden building sits nestled with dozens just like it in a development across the street from the Sea Pines Center, where Gerwing's offices are located.
The case has been the talk of this slipper-shaped 12-mile island near the Georgia border, which is filling with tourists taking the opportunity to bask in the first warm rays of spring. The couple's 40-foot yacht, The Yellow Jacket, has become an attraction, with passers-by stopping to take pictures.
"It's something very, very surprising in a very quiet community, when something like this happens," said Jack Noyse, a 66-year-old retiree from Ontario.
Tony Gibus, a friend and employee of the Calverts who had been acting as a spokesman for the couple, said he is scaling back his comments to concentrate on running the couple's company.
"It's been a week, and I haven't been able to concentrate on business," Gibus said. "John and Liz would want this business to keep continuing as it is."
Authorities say the Calverts' cell phones had been turned off. A small airplane owned by Elizabeth Calvert, a pilot, was found undisturbed on the tarmac at a local airport. A silver 2006 Mercedes belonging to the couple was found Friday, but authorities said it offered no clues to the couple's whereabouts.
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Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes (although she couldnt see anything) and plopped down on him from the bed. - BUT. Lil, what are you doing. - Vanya muttered, feeling her back and not finding clothes. Lily stretched out like a caterpillar, found his cheek and began to kiss, thinking only that the main thing is not to stop.