John and Elizabeth Calvert Cold Case ...

John and Elizabeth Calvert Cold Case Gets New Look, Hilton Head, SC

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Lexington, SC

#1 Mar 3, 2010
BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WTOC)- It's been two years since a Hilton Head couple vanished without a trace.

John and Elizabeth Calvert disappeared on March 3, 2008 after meeting their business associate, Dennis Gerwing, who handled the Calverts' finances.

Since their disappearance, there have been few leads in the case. Gerwing was named a person of interest in the Calverts' disappearance, but killed himself just hours after being named in the case.

Beaufort County sheriff PJ Tanner says there's now a new team of ten retired law enforcement officers with ties to Beaufort County volunteering their time and efforts to review the case.

The sheriff hopes by utilizing fresh sets of eyes, they may discover something someone else missed.

"It's been a busy two years" said Tanner.

So when a group of retired officers offered to take a look at the Calvert case, he was more than happy for the help.

From there, the new Beaufort County Cold Case review team was formed.

"What we found out is, there are people in the Calvert investigation that we were suspicious of, not persons of interest like Mr. Gerwing. It appears the cold case review team felt the same way," said Tanner.

Dennis Gerwing was the last person to see the Calverts alive.

Sheriff Tanner believes Gerwing took the Calverts far from their home on Hilton Head because Gerwing's cell phone was powered down for 12 hours the day they disappeared.

Deputies later found a shovel with fresh dirt on it in Gerwing's garage, but there wasn't enough dirt to determine where it came from.

In November 2009, a judge declared the Calverts dead, but Tanner says he is not giving up on the case and believes someone may soon point investigators in the right direction.

"There is a point in time when loose lips get involved and we get information," said Tanner, who says it's just a matter of time before that happens.

Just in the past few weeks, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office has conducted several interviews in connection with the case.

On Thursday, they will be meeting with the new cold case team to share their findings in hopes of solving the Calverts' disappearance.

They will also be giving the team two additional cold cases to review.


Lexington, SC

#2 Mar 4, 2010

Two Years Later: John and Liz Calvert Case

Still no clues to the whereabouts of John and Liz Calvert of Hilton Head. Wednesday marked two years since their disappearance. The couple managed the Harbourtown Yacht Basin at Sea Pines. They were last seen with their Accountant, Dennis Gerwing, who was named a person of interest in the case. A day after that, he committed suicide, leaving behind a note admitting he embezzled money but left no clues of where the couple may be.

While the loss of two friends and the mystery around their disappearance rocked this community two years ago, as time passes, life goes on. But there’s something about this case, folks haven’t let go. Beaufort County Sheriff PJ Tanner reminded of that quite often.

“Almost daily,” Tanner said.

An update Tanner hates to report: the results of the soil sample found inside Dennis Gerwing’s home was no help to the investigation.

“There was not enough soil to analyze to give us any geographical location so we’re back to square one on that,” Tanner said.

Tanner wanted evidence to support his theory that Gerwing had taken the couple a few hours from the Hilton Head.

“And my feeling has always been they’re three, four, five hours from here because there was an 11 hour window that Dennis Gerwing’s phone was powered off,” Tanner said.

But if there’s any new hope, it came last month from a group of retired law enforcement officers who volunteered their help.

“We created a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case review team and we gave them the Calvert investigation we gave them the entire case,” Tanner said.

“The thing that we found- the common denominator out of all this- was there were people and there are still people in the Calvert investigation that we were suspicious of-not persons of interest like Dennis Gerwing-but just didn’t fit—and it appears that the cold case review team felt the same way,” Tanner said.

Tanner meets again with the review team Thursday.


Lexington, SC

#3 Mar 7, 2010
Tanner, who did not attend the meeting but said he would be briefed on it"

"What we found out is, there are people in the Calvert investigation that we were suspicious of... It appears the cold case review team felt the same way," said Tanner.

"There is a point in time when loose lips get involved and we get information," said Tanner, who says it's just a matter of time before that happens.

"On Thursday, they will be meeting with the new cold case team to share their findings in hopes of solving the Calverts' disappearance."

The meeting, scheduled for last Thursday ..."Tanner meets again with the review team Thursday" ...SHERIFF TANNER DID NOT ATTEND THE MEETING.

source: WSAV and WTOC

Lexington, SC

#4 Mar 7, 2010
"Volunteer investigative team reviews the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert"

Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of John and Elizabeth Calvert, part-time Hilton Head Island residents whose missing-person case remains open, though they've officially been declared dead.

Now, a group of retired law enforcement officials is reviewing the cold case and meeting with Beaufort County Sheriff's Office officials.

The volunteers hail from the Lowcountry Retired Law Enforcement Officers Association -- a group of 41 retired police officers, investigators and attorneys who live in or near Beaufort County, according to the group's vice president, John Varone.

Formed in mid-2008 in Sun City Hilton Head, the group invited Sheriff P.J. Tanner to speak last October and asked how it could help his department, said Varone, a retired Rhode Island attorney who lives in Sun City.

Tanner drew from the group's members to form the Cold Case Review Team -- 10 volunteer retirees who have full access to cold case files. The team first met with Tanner in January, when he furnished the Calvert case for review.

For two weeks, the team met in three- and four-person groups at members' homes "to digest a mass of facts, statements and pictures," Varone said. "We got together and came up with plausible inquiries to take things a little farther."

Each group met several times before reconvening with sheriff's investigators two weeks ago. During that three-hour meeting, the team members presented a list of 12 recommendations "about what we thought should be done to provide more clarification," Varone said.

The investigators had followed up on 11 of the 12 recommendations by the time the team met with them Thursday for a progress report, Varone said. Investigators told the team they were "trying to find a proper avenue" to explore the final recommendation, he said. The team is scheduled to meet with investigators again March 18.

Tanner, who did not attend the meeting but said he would be briefed on it, declined to elaborate on the recommendations or the investigators' progress because the investigation is ongoing. Tanner said investigators have conducted additional interviews in recent weeks, following the team's recommendations.

Varone also declined to provide details of the progress.

"We were well satisfied by their answers," he said. "There are people out there who have more information than has been disclosed. We need to get the people with the information we need."

Tanner said he values the team's role in coaxing that information from the people who have kept it secret for two years.

"They've worked in white-collar crime and homicide. They know a variety of investigative techniques," Tanner said. "It's a good stable of experience. All of it's helpful."

Philadelphia, PA

#5 Jan 11, 2011
This case has Rat all over it.
Number one, people don't stab themselves to death as a method of suicide so something smells with Gerwing's death. A suicide note can be forged, and coroners are often paid off.

Also, my bet is the Calverts with all their money also had alot of power in the community, enough to even usurp the police force.

Was Harbor Town getting "too big for its britches"?

I think the brother and heir of their fortune deserves another look-see. It is also possible that a third party stepped in when all parties were in process of destroying each other -- murdered Gerwing just as he was to take the rap and ran with the money.

You cops need to think outside your little box.

North Hollywood, CA

#6 Apr 7, 2011
"coroners are often paid off?" Cite sources for that please. I'm an obsessive true crime follower and this is the first time I have heard this allegation.
When I heard the part about the stabbing death of Gerwing, the first thing I thought of was not "co-conspirator," it was "cocaine." The man was a proven gambler and strip club patron; what are the chances he didn't use cocaine?
This person had a lot to be ashamed of. My assumption, unless presented with a clean post-mortem profile, is that he got drunk and/or high and sliced himself up in a fit of desperate self-losthing.

West Olive, MI

#7 Apr 11, 2011
I just finished watching the ID (investigation discovery)channel show "disappeared". When they came to the part about Gerwing committing suicide I just don't believe that. The detectives said blood was everywhere in that bathroom 360degrees. So what did he do? Start stabbing himself all over the body including his neck then fall back into the bath tub? I don't think so. No doubt he was embezzling money but I don't think he was solely responsible for the Calvert's murder. I think he had an accomplice who then turned on him and murdered him. But then again he may have had nothing to do with the actual murder of these poor people.
Who would commit suicide like that? I'm sure Gerwing could have found an easier way to end his life.
Just my take on it......

Sanford, ME

#8 Apr 25, 2011
John and Elizabeth Calvert are in the Witness Protection Program that is why no one can find them. Have the retired Police check it out.
juris doctorate

Virginia Beach, VA

#9 May 22, 2011
Nomad wrote:
John and Elizabeth Calvert are in the Witness Protection Program that is why no one can find them. Have the retired Police check it out.
It never ceases to amaze me how ridiculous some of you people are...what an idiot.

Washington, DC

#10 Jun 12, 2011
Gerwing dealt with shady owners in the strip and gambling world. When they found out the Calverts were on to the $2.5 mil embezzled money they had to disappear. He was pacing cause he was nervous how this would turn out for him. He was made to shoot them one by one, and underworld goons assisted in professionally getting rid of them. Gerwing knew he would never pay them off and they knew he would never remain quiet. Follow that embezzled money trail, it's well, very well connected ...that's why this will never be solved.

United States

#11 Jun 12, 2011
My question did Gerwing get the cars all to different locations without any help. If he didn't have help, he waould have had to use a cab. Also, have they ever checked the yacht club to see if maybe, when Elizabeths car was brought back that it was not used to transport the bodies and then the bodies dumped into the harbor?

Apex, NC

#12 Jan 14, 2012
Nomad wrote:
John and Elizabeth Calvert are in the Witness Protection Program that is why no one can find them. Have the retired Police check it out.
Wow. This seems entirely plausible. Witness protection program for the Calverts. They called out Gehring, and then absconded with "help". Gehring gets whacked by his co-conspirators, for the release of information that he was embezzling these funds. Why else would there be such a blatant coverup by local law enforcement? Perhaps to protect the Calverts.

Akron, OH

#13 Jan 22, 2012
What about gearings car at the airport?

Fort Wayne, IN

#14 Jan 22, 2012
Whenever large sums of money and strip clubs are mentioned the money laundering situation comes into play. Gerwing steels the cash from the Yatch business and negotiates a deal with his friends at the club to launder the money and cover the trail. After-all, the stereo types that hang out at strip clubs include underworld, criminals involving drugs and cash. Look closer at the strip club owners and regulars.
The girls there are usually in need of money and willing to talk if they see a way out of their current life style.

United States

#15 Jan 25, 2012
My theory on this is: Dennis was unavailable for a 12-hour period (cell phone turned off) he had his secretary follow him and left his car at the airport. Could it be that a 'hit man' or accomplice was flying in the airport and Dennis gave the use of his car? How about the rental car records for that day? What about passengers flying in that day? perhaps someone flew in and out. Perhaps Dennis told the Calvert's to go somewhere with hin and he would 'explain' the shortage in money -- perhaps an accomplice was waiting -- I don't know how he could of over-powered two people unless he had help and/or a gun. They must of been driven to a location 6 hours one way and 6 hours another way -- and killed there. I did not hear any evidence that they found blood in Gerwigs car or office. I think they are buried somewhere near Hilton Head and perhaps a couple of hours drive from there.

I hope they find out what happened so the family can have closure. This is so very sad :(

Bluffton, SC

#16 Feb 12, 2012
Russians control the gambling on our island. The hit on Gerwing reeks with their MO. Chances are this case will never truly be solved

Yucaipa, CA

#17 May 26, 2012
A person found with stab wounds all over his body, with 360 degree blood spatter????? Suicide? Really? This sounds preposterous! I can't believe the police would rule such a thing suicide.
Gwyn Roberts UK

Market Rasen, UK

#18 Jul 20, 2012
Many questions remain unanswered. Were swabs taken of GERWING's hands when he was first suspected? Such swabs would confirm whether or not he had "recently" fired a weapon.
Was there a dedictated team of detectives devoted to following the paper trail of the missing monies?
The "suicide" of GERWING needs to be thoroughly re-investigated as the angle of lacerations to the body can be or not be attributed to the actions of the deceased.
Maybe the soil samples could be given to British scientists for analysis (When I was on an investigation team for a murder, specialists from a local university were able to analyse the soil and determine how long the body had been buried (7 years).
I am surprised that the usual "mediums" have not intervened and pointed Police in the direction of where the bodies may have been disposed.(I have seen many instances on television where these people have accutaely located the bodies of missing person(s).
The suggestion of a "Witness Protection Programme" is not a viable avenue of investgigation - as the suggestion could be rapidly eliminated by the FBI.

Lake Mary, FL

#19 Jul 20, 2012
I too, am a very big true crime buff/fan.... If Gerwig had his secretary stop at a hardware store and he bought 3 tarps, to me that is very suspicous! there was no blood found in Gerwigs office. I still think Gerwig drove them somewhere (perhaps on false pretenses) and an accompliance was waiting to kill them. I do believe that two people could overpower Gerwig, even though he was a big man. I think they should look at the odometer on Gerwigs car (In between oil changes) and see how many miles he has traveled -- they could use a basic formula to subtract 'miles around the island'-- then take the remaining mileage and divide by two (so many miles there, so many miles back) and take a LARGE search team with cadaver dogs and volunteers and check the wooded areas/parks, etc. By watching so many true crime stories, they are probably buried somewhere where only accessible by dirt roads -- and can't be seen from the main highway. This would ensure when Gerwig buried them, no one would see. And, it was probably dark as well. I sure hope they solve this crime and let us know -- because I am a true crime buff.

Cincinnati, OH

#20 Sep 5, 2012
Gerwing did not kill himself! Why would someone decide to stab themselves over and over as a suicide method? Most suicide methods are quick and simple: gunshot to head, hanging, etc. The cops know he did not kill himself. They are being lazy and figure they can name him as sole suspect and call it a day. I believe Gerwing did kill John and Liz but he did not do it all by himself. This was a group thing. He had help with the murder and with the theft of john's and Liz's money. The others involved feared that Gerwing would crack and rat them out, so he was eliminated. I believe John's and Liz's resting spot is somewhere deep in a woods or at the bottom of the ocean.

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