'Person of interest' in Hilton Head missing couple case found dead of apparent suicide

HILTON HEAD ISLAND -- A former business associate of a missing couple who live part-time on Hilton Head Island apparently committed suicide Tuesday night and left two notes, according to a news release from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

The body of Dennis Gerwing, deemed by the Sheriff's Office as a "person of interest in the disappearance case," was found Tuesday in the upstairs bathroom of a Sea Pines villa his company manages.

Top law enforcement officers, the coroner and the area's solicitor converged on the Swallowtail of Sea Pines condo complex after 4 p.m. Tuesday. The body was removed around 7 p.m.

Gerwing left behind two notes that are being studied for statement analysis by forensic investigators with the State Law Enforcement Division, the release stated.

The condos are managed by The Club Group, according to Beaufort County legal records. The Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that Gerwing, chief financial officer of The Club Group, was the last person to see the couple together before they were reported missing March 4.

Gerwing's home, business and cars were searched Saturday by authorities in relation to the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of John and Liz Calvert, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office reported Tuesday.

John Calvert, 47, is owner of the company that operates the Harbour Town Yacht Basin, where his yacht, which serves as a part-time home, still is moored. The Club Group performed administrative duties for John Calvert's companies.

Search warrants were obtained Saturday for Gerwing's offices at 71 Lighthouse Road, his home at 8 Bent Tree Lane in Hilton Head Plantation, and his two vehicles, a 2004 pewter-colored Toyota Avalon and a 2001 dark gray GMC Yukon. Investigators would not reveal what, if anything, was found.

A Toyota Avalon matching the Sheriff's Office description is outside the Swallowtail building Tuesday night.

Gerwing had not been cooperating with investigators and had obtained a lawyer, the Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. Calls by The Island Packet to Gerwing's criminal attorney, Cory Fleming, were not immediately returned.

Calvert had a business relationship with The Club Group through the end of last year. The Club Group provided administrative support to Calvert's four island businesses. The two parties had an amicable split, Mark King, president of The Club Group, said last week.

A 911 call was placed around 4 p.m. Tuesday of a possible suicide at 2899 Swallowtail, the sheriff's release stated. The call was placed by Dan Saxon, an attorney representing Dennis Ray Gerwing. Gerwing was named earlier in the afternoon as a person of interest in the Calvert disappearance case, the release stated.

Gerwing appeared to have been dead for several hours of an apparent suicide, the release stated. A forensic autopsy is scheduled for today at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.