GOOSE CREEK — Three years ago next week, former Charleston police officer Daniel William Hiers Jr. disappeared after his wife, Ludimila Hiers, was found shot to death in their bedroom.
As a remembrance, a candlelight memorial is being planned in her honor just as authorities are stepping up their efforts to find the ex-cop who authorities hold responsible for her death.
Ludimila Hiers, known as Mila to her friends, will be honored during a ceremony at the Goose Creek municipal center at 7 p.m. March 15. Her mother is expected to come from Brazil to attend.
Pastor Ted Wright of Igreja Brasilerirade Crowfield Church said the vigil is designed to keep the woman's memory in the public eye and let people know "it is not a closed case, not a forgotten case." The town of Goose Creek and its police department are also behind the event.
Hiers, 35, disappeared March 15, 2005, after he was spotted driving away from the couple's home on Severn Street. His 24-year-old Brazilian-born wife was found dead inside. She'd been shot in the back of the head at close range while lying in bed. They had married while she was a teenager.
Hiers was out on bond on a child molestation charge when he disappeared. Authorities said the victim was a girl he befriended in a karate class. He was suspended from the Charleston Police Department, where he had worked since 1998, and later resigned.
Hiers' trail quickly turned cold. One of the last sightings came from a report that he'd stopped at a convenience store ATM off Interstate 95 near Walterboro. Following that, authorities discovered that his red 2005 Aveo had been driven directly to the Texas border town of Laredo. The vehicle was two miles from the Mexican border. News dried up after that.
Officials are at a loss as to how the blond, fair-skinned Hampton County native, who speaks with a thick Southern accent, has been able to elude detection. Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Stec said Hiers' case is one of the longest-running fugitive hunts South Carolina officials have followed. Leads have been pursued all over North America, Stec said, not just in Mexico.
"In Canada as well," he said, but declined to elaborate. "He's done well for three years now, so he's got something working for him."
Hiers' case has been featured on the TV show "America's Most Wanted," which could send a crew to the March 15 memorial.