HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Charges have been dismissed against one of two people who were charged in January for interfering with the investigation into Heather Elvis' disappearance.
According to Horry County Police, 52-year-old William Christopher Barrett posted misleading information on a social media site about the disappearance, "creating a community reaction that diverted investigating officers."
Police also believe he questioned witnesses as he tried to conduct a separate investigation, and led an independent search. "Potential evidence was uncovered and did not immediately report it to law enforcement," Lt. Robert Kegler said.
Garrett Ryan Starnes, 25, was also facing an obstruction of justice charge for "fabricated misleading information regarding the disappearance of Heather Elvis and then relayed the false information to law enforcement." The information was posted online and diverted investigators from the case.
On April 10, the obstruction of justice charge against Starnes was dismissed, according to Horry County Court documents.
Lt. Kegler said, "There is a difference between providing law enforcement with tips and misleading law enforcement with false information."
Both Barrett and Starnes were arrested on Jan. 28 and charged with obstructing justice. Both men paid 10 percent of their $2,500 bail and are out on bond.
Heather's father Terry said he has known Barrett for the last five years and will continue to be his friend. He didn't have a comment concerning Starnes arrest or charges.
Terry Elvis doesn't want people to stop giving tips to law enforcement in fear they might be in trouble. Elvis said he and his wife feel Heather left with someone she knows, and they want those people who might know something to come forward.
"It's a crime, and it doesn't matter who it was, or who did it. It doesn't matter if it's a family member. It's a crime. Speak up," encourages Elvis.
The Horry County Police task force is still investigating the case, looking into tips and looking back over the information. Heather Elvis has been missing since December 17, 2013.
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