SC, NC communities hold vigils for Mount Pleasant woman

Vigil in Boone, N.C. for Dara Watson. (Photograph by Aaron Whitener)
Vigil in Boone, N.C. for Dara Watson. (Photograph by Aaron Whitener)

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Vigils were held Friday night in two communities 300 miles apart for a Mt. Pleasant woman who has been missing for more than 10 days.

This comes on the same day that police suspended the search for 30-year-old Dara Watson. Watson was last seen on Feb. 6. and her burned out car was found a day later in Mt. Pleasant. Investigators found Watson's cell phone in a pond not far from her car on Thursday and a body in the Frances Marion National Forest on Friday.

At Waterfront Park in Mt. Pleasant, community members and friends gathered at a candlelight vigil and shared their memories of Dara Watson. At the end of the night, balloons were released in the air carrying messages for Watson.

"I know it's not going to fix anything or heal it completely," said event organizer Kimberly Kite. "But just to be with a group with prayer is powerful."

In Boone, N.C., Watson's family and friends also held a candlelight vigil where the large gathering sang Amazing Grace.

Police said it could take several days before the body is identified but friends fear the worse.

Watson's fiance David Hedrick committed suicide at the couple's home just hours before she was reported missing. Police believe he had something to do with her disappearance.

"As things began to unfold it became more and more unbelievable," Watson's high school friend Mandy Southern said.

Southern says the last time she spoke to Watson, Watson was telling her she was engaged. "She was really happy with him so that's made it so much harder."

"My prayer this morning was they have closure..that they find her body if they couldn't find her safe..because I can't imagine being a parent and wondering where your child is," Family friend Teresa Campbell said.

The crowd left messages of encouragement and hope to the family. Some taped signs to the store windows. Folks say this is not unusual for the small town to come together in a time of need.

"Keep supporting this family..this journey we're only half way through it," Pastor Reggie Hunt said.

Hunt says Mr. Watson headed down to SC to be with his wife Friday. The pastor says the family is grateful for the support from people in both North and South Carolina.

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