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Well-known Charles Town regular found dead at train station

September 28, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - He could be seen just about anywhere in town, munching on a snack on a street corner or basking in the sun on a downtown bench.

And Willie Diggs had an unmistakable walk, dipping his body in a slow motion walk that some described as a swagger.

"Everybody knew Willie. If you didn't know him by name, you knew him by sight," said Roger Ramey, spokesman for Charles Town Races & Slots.

Diggs' presence in town sadly came to an end when police found him dead Wednesday night in an old railroad building along Summit Point Road on the western edge of town.

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The building, a short distance from the intersection with W.Va. 51, once was used to load and unload grain, said Deputy Chris Tennant of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

There were two sections of the building and a drive-through area in the middle that was covered by a roof, Tennant said.

Diggs was found in that area, Tennant said.

Tennant said Diggs was discovered after a local resident called local police and expressed concern about Diggs because he had not been seen lately.

Foul play is not suspected in Diggs' death and it appears he died from natural causes, Tennant said.

An autopsy will be performed on the body, Tennant said.

Diggs came onto the scene at least 40 years ago and people who knew him said he used to work at a city job.

But he didn't work recently and was considered homeless, according to Tenant and Del. Locke Wysong, whose family knew Diggs well.

Diggs had an apartment at Charles Towers Apartments on Augustine Avenue, but he did not like it there, said Wysong, D-Jefferson.

Diggs walked throughout town, stopping at a local business or two to grab a snack and often sitting on a bench downtown. Many local people knew him and often stopped to chat with him, give him some food or give him a ride somewhere.

"He's an institution in his own right in our town," Wysong said.

People who remembered him in town Thursday did so with sadness in their hearts and they talked about perhaps naming a bench downtown in Diggs' honor.

Tennant said he discovered two different birthdates for Diggs, one that made him 76 and another that put him at 77.

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