Wealthy Hilton head couple vanishes

March 6, 2008 11:01:09 AM PST
The disappearance this week of a prominent Hilton Head husband and wife has left friends and employees scouring the South Carolina island resort town for any trace of the couple. Local business owners John Calvert, 47, and his wife Elizabeth, 45, were last seen Monday evening leaving a business meeting.

A search of their yacht, their private plane and a second home in Atlanta have turned up no evidence of foul play, but also no indication that those places had been visited since Monday. One of their vehicles, a Mercedes Benz, is missing.

"Nothing adds up," Tony Gibbus, a friend and employee of the Calverts, told ABC News. "We're a wreck."

John Calvert, who with his wife co-owns the Harbour Town Yacht Basin in Hilton Head Island as well as other businesses, failed to meet his employees for morning meetings Tuesday.

Elizabeth Calvert, a tax attorney in nearby Savannah, also never arrived at work, according to Gibbus, general manager of the Mariner's Club at Harbour Town.

"They are definitely prominent community activists here and in Atlanta," Gibbus told ABC News, describing the pair as the "best people you could imagine ? The people who work with and for them don't consider them bosses."

In Hilton Head, the couple, who Gibbus said do not have children, live on the 45-foot motor cruiser Yellow Jacket. The boat is tied up and secure, according to Gibbus, and it does not appear that the couple slept in the cabin Monday night.

The Calverts' second car is parked in town. Their private plane sits at the Hilton Head Airport. Elizabeth Calvert earned her pilot's license in 2006, Gibbus said.

Also left behind are a dog and a cat, another sign that something could be wrong. "Liz would never leave her animals unattended," Gibbus said.

What is missing is their silver 2006 Mercedes E320 with Georgia tags, but the vehicle's GPS system is not activated. Calls to the Calverts' phones go directly to voice mail.

A call to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office was not immediately returned, but Sheriff P.J. Tanner told the Beaufort Gazette that the disappearance is "raising eyebrows." Tanner would not rule out that the couple may have been victims of a crime.

The Harbour Town Yacht Basin operates slips and offers charter boat trips. The couple also own a company that handles villa-style rentals on Hilton Head Island, a popular vacation destination known for boating, beaches and golf.

Elizabeth Calvert worked as a lawyer for UPS in Atlanta for 14 years, most recently as head of legal department operations, according to her attorney profile on the Hunter Maclean law firm Web site. She also served on the board of trustees for the Georgia conservancy and Converse College, her undergraduate alma mater. John Calvert is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall with blue eyes and grey hair. Liz Calvert is 5 feet 4 inches tall with brown eyes and brown hair. For now, Gibbus said that friends continue to try to stay positive. "The vibe is definitely optimistic for now," he said. "We hope we are all overreacting."