Mount Pleasant police confirmed today that Dara Watson’s fiancé, David Hedrick, was responsible for the 30-year-old’s disappearance on Feb. 6.
“It is believed at this time that between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, Hedrick was involved in the circumstances surrounding her disappearance,” said Mount Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell in a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
A witness has come forward to report giving Hedrick a ride from the remote location where Watson’s burned-out SUV was found. Other witnesses have told police they saw Hedrick exiting the woods with a shovel, Sewell said.
Now police are asking the public for more information, so they can construct a more solid timeline of events in their search for Watson.
“We, along with Dara’s family, are asking for any information the public may have about Dara Watson or David Hedrick, or either of their vehicles on Monday evening,” Sewell said.
Watson has been missing since Feb. 6 when her family last saw her in Boone, N.C. She was reported missing to police on Feb. 10 by her employer who was concerned that his usually prompt employee had not been in communication.
Her fiancé, David Hedrick, who had not alerted authorities that Watson was missing, was found dead on Feb. 10 from what now the Charleston County Coroner reports was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
His death occurred just hours after police questioned him in their missing person’s investigation. At that time, Hedrick said Watson had not been at home since Feb. 7 and that the couple argued the day before.
Sewell said that argument may have begun in Boone and continued as the couple returned to Charleston. He did not rule out the possibility that Watson could be inside Charleston County or somewhere between here and western North Carolina. He would not classify the search as a hunt for a “body.”
“We are searching for Dara,” Sewell said.
Watson’s sister and that employer said they had exchanged text messages, but there were no phone calls after Feb. 6. An email from a third friend was never answered, which is not typical for Watson.
Sheriff’s deputies found Watson’s charred SUV on a remote road in the Francis Marion National Forest on Feb. 8, but because of the fire damage, it took several days to ID the owner. Also at that time, there was no missing person report, which would have been an immediate red flag to authorities.
Deputies, who are leading the search, looked in two isolated northern Charleston County locations over the last few days in an effort to find Watson. The first search near the burned-out SUV was abandoned on Sunday after two days of searching turned up no clues.
On Tuesday, deputies searched remote woods near Awendaw after a concerned citizen tipped police to ground that had recently been disturbed there. Deputies said it was just an overturned tree and not connected to Watson’s disappearance.
Mount Pleasant police are also conducting a simultaneous missing person case and are investigating Hedrick’s death.