Former Hancock councilman found deceased on canal towpath

Nigel Dardar.

by Geoff Fox & Kate Shunney

Hancock resident and former Hancock councilman Nigel Dardar was found deceased along the C&O Canal east of Hancock on Thursday, February 13 following a brief search.

Officers started searching for Dardar along the canal on Thursday morning after his car was found in the parking lot of the Bowles House, Hancock’s canal visitor center.

Dardar, 72, had last been seen around noon on Wednesday, February 12, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. Police said he was believed to be heading out to walk his dog, something he did regularly along the towpath.

Hancock Police Chief Jim Robison said Dardar was found along the trail by Washington County deputies’ K-9 unit, Hancock Police, and Maryland State Police troopers.

He added the body was found about a mile east of the staging area in the Bowles House parking lot in the area of the 122-mile marker on the C&O Canal towpath.

Robison, along with Officer Shawn Faith, left the scene in a police vehicle with Dardar’s dog in the backseat and returned him to family members.

Multiple police agencies staged search operations at the Bowles House.

Robison said the dog had stayed with Dardar the whole time.

Around noon, Robison returned to the scene at the Bowles House and confirmed Dardar had been found deceased.

A Medical Examiner arrived on the scene shortly after noon and was escorted by Hancock Police to the area where Dardar was found.

National Park police and Maryland State Police were also on the scene. There was no indication from police that foul play is suspected in Dardar’s death. Robison said the body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore.

There was no indication on how long Dardar had been deceased, Robison said.

Dardar was elected to the Hancock Town Council in 2009. He ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for mayor during the last two town elections.

Even out of office, Dardar remained involved in town government, regularly attending council meetings. He was known as a spirited critic of town government but an ardent supporter of Hancock’s canals and trails as marketing and development assets for the town.

Dardar was also an avid supporter of Hancock High School sports at home and away games, cheering on the Panthers.

Dardar was the husband of local chiropractor Dr. Colette Deschamps.