Slain woman’s estate sues OnStar alleging refusal to give location during kidnapping

A lawsuit claims that a vehicle tracking system refused to provide the whereabouts of an 80-year-old Horry County woman during her kidnapping
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF/Gray News) – A lawsuit claims that a vehicle tracking system refused to provide the whereabouts of an 80-year-old South Carolina woman when she was kidnapped.

The estate of Mary Ann Elvington filed a wrongful death lawsuit on March 1 against OnStar and Dominique Brand, the man convicted of kidnapping and killing the 80-year-old.

The lawsuit states that Elvington’s car was equipped with OnStar.

It alleges on March 28, 2021, Elvington’s family became concerned because her car was missing, so her son, Harold Elvington contacted his mother who told him she was in her car but couldn’t provide her location and destination or describe her surroundings.

That’s when Harold Elvington contacted OnStar and told the representative that his mother was in danger in her car and needed immediate assistance, according to the lawsuit.

The documents allege that Harold Elvington asked OnStar to provide him or law enforcement with the car’s location but OnStar refused and instead placed them on a three-way call to Mary Ann Elvington’s vehicle.

The grandmother confirmed on the call that she didn’t know where she was or where she was going, but refused to respond when asked whether she would pull over and contact law enforcement, the lawsuit states.

The three-way call was then terminated.

“Harold Elvington repeatedly contacted Defendant OnStar, alerted multiple agents of Defendant OnStar that Decedent was in danger, and requested Defendant provide the location of Decedent’s vehicle to him or law enforcement. Defendant OnStar refused these requests and took no further action to assist Decedent despite knowledge that Decedent was in danger and volunteering to assist Decedent,” according to the lawsuit.

It also claims that the police chief of Nichols called OnStar and informed them of the urgent circumstances, but OnStar still refused to provide the car’s location.

Elvington was later shot and killed by Brand. Her body was found behind an abandoned grocery store in Marion County.

The lawsuit states that OnStar owed a duty to Mary Ann Elvington to provide emergency services, which includes informing law enforcement when a person is in danger.

“Defendant OnStar negligently failed to fulfill its duties by refusing to immediately provide the location of the Decedent’s vehicle, refusing to immediately assist law enforcement in locating Decedent, alerting the Decedent’s kidnapper that others were attempting to locate Decedent, and in other such manner as discovery may reveal,” the document also states.

The estate is asking for actual and consequential damages in an amount that will be determined by a jury.

WMBF News reached out to OnStar for a statement on the lawsuit, but they did not respond.

Meanwhile, a federal judge convicted Brand of the kidnapping and murder of Mary Ann Elvington in September 2022. He is still awaiting sentencing.