S.C. murder victim Dara Watson had relatives in Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 24, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
The South Carolina woman whose body was found in the Francis Marion National Forest last Friday has local ties.
Dara Watson, a 30-year-old Boone native who was fatally shot in the head, is the daughter of Salisbury High School graduate Ellen Wilson Watson and granddaughter of George F. Wilson Sr., who was the longtime band and choral director at Boyden High School.
The Charleston Post and Courier reported that Mount Pleasant police said Dara Watson was killed in the home she shared with former fiance David Hedrick.
Her body was found in the S.C. forest, buried about 60 feet away from her sport utility vehicle after more than a weeklong search, the newspaper reported. She was last seen leaving her mother’s home in Boone on Feb. 6 and had been missing for more than a week.
Dara Watson’s death has been ruled a homicide.
Hedrick, 34, shot himself in the head at the couple’s home after being questioned by police about her disappearance on Feb. 10.
The Post and Courier reported that Hedrick may have been planning to leave town. There was a resignation letter to his employers, Palmetto Surety Corp., found on his computer.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Harry Sewell told the newspaper that Hedrick killed Dara Watson on either Feb. 6 or 7.
Sewell said Hedrick sent text messages from Dara Watson’s phone days after she was killed, The Post and Courier reported.
Dara Watson’s funeral was held Wednesday in Boone.
According to a 2006 article by the High Country Press, Ellen Wilson showed up at Darrel Watson’s store, Watsonatta Western World in Boone, looking for a job in the mid-1970s.
They married in 1978 and had two children, Dara and Brooke, the article stated.
Ellen had moved to Salisbury in 1957 at the age of 5. Her father, George Follett Wilson Sr., served as the band and choral director at Boyden High School until 1971.
Wilson became known as Salisbury’s “Music Man” during his time here, growing both programs from fewer than 10 students to more than 100. His students performed highly acclaimed Broadway musical productions.
After leaving Boyden High, Wilson moved to Brunswick County to re-establish the band and music programs there. He died last January in Salisbury after moving into the N.C. Veterans Home at the Hefner VA Medical Center.
Dara Watson’s cousin, Geof Wilson, lives in Salisbury and is the part owner of Urban Driftwood, a website and consulting firm.
A Post reporter reached Geof Wilson on Thursday, but he declined to comment on her death. “Everybody is coming up for air after the funeral,” he said. “I’m hesitant at this point to come out.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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