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CRIME

South Carolina official identifies body as Dara Watson

  • This undated photo, provided by the Mount Pleasant Police Department, shows 30-year-old Dara Lee Watson.

  • This image, released by police, shows a vehicle similar to the one driven by Watson.

A South Carolina coroner has identified a body found in a national forest as that of a woman who went missing this month.

Authorities said the woman, 30-year-old Dara Lee Watson, was killed by her former fiance days before he committed suicide.

Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten said Saturday that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. The body was found Friday in the Frances Marion National Forest, not far from where police had discovered the woman's torched SUV.

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell says Watson was killed by David Hedrick on Feb. 6 or Feb. 7 and buried in a shallow grave. Hedrick fatally shot himself on Feb. 10.

After the search for Watson was called off, candlelight vigils were held Friday in Mount Pleasant and in Boone, North Carolina, where Watson, a North Carolina native, had family.