Couple declared dead after 11/2 years missing

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. --- A South Carolina couple missing for more than a year and a half has been officially declared dead by a judge as family members established scholarships and planned a memorial in Georgia.


During a hearing in Georgia on Oct. 22, a judge declared that John and Elizabeth Calvert are deceased, said David White, the missing woman's brother.

The couple's family has established scholarships in each of their names. A public memorial has been planned for Nov. 15 at Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

The Calverts, who split their time between a yacht on Hilton Head Island and a home in Atlanta, were last seen in South Carolina on March 3, 2008, the day they met with accountant Dennis Gerwing, who kept their books. An employer of Mr. Gerwing has said he embezzled $2.1 million from the couple and seven other companies.

Mr. Gerwing bought three heavyweight drop cloths and a box of latex gloves and turned off his cell phone for 12 hours after meeting with his wealthy clients, police said. He committed suicide March 11, 2008, the day he was questioned by police about their disappearance.

"I have acted completely alone in all actions committed," he wrote in a suicide note found with his body. He did not mention the Calverts.