Landfill searched after S.C. couple vanishes

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner has refused to say whether he believes John and Elizabeth Calvert are dead.Caroline Hilty / Hilton Head Monthly Magazine via AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Investigators with cadaver dogs searched a southeast Georgia landfill Monday for a missing couple last seen two weeks ago at the marina where they lived and worked on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

John and Elizabeth Calvert, who live part time on a yacht at the Harbour Town marina they lease and manage, were last seen March 3. Police think Dennis Ray Gerwing, a business associate of the couple who committed suicide last week, was the last person to see them.

Authorities had combed through parts of the vast landfill in rural Wayne County on Saturday, but found nothing. The Beaufort County, S.C., sheriff's office has said only that a tip prompted the search 100 miles from the resort island near the Georgia-South Carolina border.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner has refused to say whether he believes the Calverts are dead or alive.

Wayne County sheriff's Capt. Joe Naia said Monday trash from Hilton Head Island is dumped at the landfill after being sent to nearby Savannah and compacted. But he said authorities weren't certain the Calverts' bodies had been taken to the landfill.

"Everything is highly speculative," Naia said. "I think this is one of several places" investigators are searching for the couple.

Naia said the landfill receives trash from across southern Georgia as well as from parts of Florida and South Carolina.

John Calvert, 47, and his 45-year-old wife run several businesses in the Hilton Head area. Elizabeth Calvert is a business attorney.

Gerwing, who had been questioned by investigators, killed himself by slashing his inner thigh with a knife. His body was found in the bathroom of his Hilton Head condominium. He left two suicide notes, but investigators have refused to discuss their contents.