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Coroner Confirms: Body is Dara Lee Watson PDF Print
Written by Steve Frank   
Saturday, 18 February 2012 19:02

At a Saturday press conference, the worst fears of folks from the Low Country of South Carolina to the High Country of North Carolina were realized, that the body found on Friday near the Francis Marion National Forest is Dara Lee Watson, the Watauga native missing since Feb. 6. In a move faster than most expected, the Charleston County Coroner confirmed that the remains were Dara, with Police saying that her fiancé, David Hedrick, killed the 30-year-old woman, then tried to cover his tracks. Mount Pleasant Police said in the press conference that when his plan unraveled and police began asking questions, Hedrick committed suicide on Feb. 10. "Dara was killed inside her home between Monday and Tuesday by David Hedrick," according to Mount Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell, in his statement to the press.  “He then transported her inside of the GMC Envoy to Halfway Creek Road where he proceeded to bury her body." Rae Wooten, Charleston County coroner, told the press that Watson died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Ballistic testing on the 9 mm gun Hedrick used in his own suicide is being conducted to link the weapon to Watson's death, according to investigators. Police told the press Hedrick planned to flee the area. They recovered a resignation letter to his employer on his computer and friends told reporters his Mercedes was loaded with clothes when they arrived at the home on Feb. 10th, according to website mountpleasantpatch. The site also said that Hedrick sent messages to Watson's family and her employer from her cell phone in an attempt to buy time, Sewell said. Searchers found that phone in pond near the home Hedrick shared with Watson.
Police said they found Watson's body in a grave within 60 or so feet of where authorities had earlier found her burned-out SUV, Sewell said. Though searchers had scanned that area almost daily since Feb. 10, the grave went unnoticed until a heavy rain lead investigators to discover the body, Sewell telling the press, "Environmental conditions changed, mainly a heavy rain, which allowed the ground to settle and reveal evidence of her location." The medical examiner told the press that Watson's identity was confirmed through dental records. The Saturday news conference ended a week of angst for family and friends, and brought to close a weeklong search for Watson that involved up to 100 searchers at times.


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