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Home  |  News  |  Divers find missing woman's cell phone in Rivertowne pond

Divers find missing woman's cell phone in Rivertowne pond

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Friday, February 17, 2012

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Dive teams found the cell phone of 30-year-old Dara Lee Watson in a pond Thursday afternoon. Watson has been missing since Feb. 6.

Divers with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office searched five ponds off North Creek Drive in the Rivertowne subdivision, near where Watson and her fiancé, David Hedrick, lived.

The first pond that investigators searched was where divers with the sheriff's office found the cell phone. Divers were using their feet to try to uncover whatever they could in the pond, moving back and forth across the area until they had swept the pond.

Before divers had entered the pond, authorities removed an alligator. Shortly after, divers recovered Watson's cell phone.

Neighbors said the quiet neighborhood has been turned into a crime scene with dozens of police cars as well as spectators lining the streets all hours of the day.

"You worry about your kids getting in the way, but also that they'll discover something. You just get kind of nervous that something will go on that you don't want them to see," said Ingrid Ray, a neighbor who lives by the retention ponds deputies are searching.

Watson was last seen in Boone, North Carolina on Feb. 6. Last Friday, two friends found Hedrick, dead in the couple's North Creek Drive home after an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Dive teams began searching around 3 p.m., not far from where the couple lived and Hedrick was found dead.

On Thursday, deputies with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office also returned to the Francis Marion National Forest looking for clues in Watson's disappearance. The sheriff's office says it will continue to conduct multiple unorganized sweeps through the forest for Watson. The sweeps will not be full scale searches and are not based on any solid or new tips at this point.

On a 911 call released Wednesday, a friend of Hedrick tells emergency dispatchers that Hedrick had just fatally shot himself after a recent breakup with Watson. According to police, Hedrick's friends, Patrick O'Neil and Charles Gilbert, arrived at Hedrick's North Creek Drive home last Friday and found Hedrick's body on the bed in the master bedroom.

Gilbert told emergency dispatchers that he and O'Neil heard gunshots and broke into Hedrick's home and found him suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot.

"Wow this is awful," Gilbert told the dispatcher. "He and his girlfriend just broke up. They were about to get married ... "David! He's gone. He's gone."

The couple got engaged in January and lived together in the North Creek Drive home.

On Wednesday, officers searched in Mt. Pleasant's Rivertowne subdivision where Watson and Hedrick lived. Authorities also searched a nearby golf course and in parts of the Francis Marion National Forest near Halfway Creek Road. Search crews used rakes, shovels and bull dozing equipment Wednesday, but so far have not found any significant leads in the case.

Mt. Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell says that Hedrick was involved in her disappearance. According to police, a witness spotted Hedrick with a shovel, leaving the area where Watson's car was found burned. Deputies recovered a shovel near where the car was found last Saturday that could be the shovel that Hedrick had the day he was driven home from the forest. The shovel is being tested for possible DNA from Dara Watson.

On Friday, two events will be held the Mt. Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park to support Watson's family and friends. At 4 p.m., event organizers will distribute flyers and posters. At 7 p.m., a candlelight vigil will be held for Watson.

Authorities are looking for anyone who may have seen Hedrick's white 2008 Mercedes E-350 or Watson's silver 2006 GMC Envoy between Monday and Tuesday night.

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 554-1111, toll free at 1-888-CRIME-SC, or online at Texters can send anonymous tips to CRIMES (274637), and mark the beginning of the message with "TIPCSL". Text STOP to 274637 to cancel. Text HELP to 274637 for help. Msg&Data Rates May Apply.


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