'Woman in Black' captivates nation
WTOP's Andrew Mollenbeck reports
WASHINGTON - A mysterious figure, who has whipped up a storm on social media, has arrived in Winchester, Virginia.
Dubbed the "Woman in Black," she has been seen wearing all black clothing with a black hood as she walks along roadsides in several states including Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee.
Winchester Police say she arrived in their area Tuesday night.
Frederick (Virginia) County Sheriff's deputies met her near the Virginia-West Virginia state line and brought her back to Winchester, Lauren Cummings with the Winchester Police Department tells WTOP.
Winchester police took a call for crowd control about 9 Tuesday evening in the area of Valley Avenue, she says.
"The woman in black had gone to a local bank in that area and about 20 people had gathered around. And those 20 people turned quickly into about 50 people. And (soon) nearly 100 people had gathered in that area. They were taking pictures of her, approaching her, trying to give her money, food and that sort of thing, asking her questions," Cummings says.
Winchester officers then took the unnamed woman to an "undisclosed location" and provided her with food and shelter
"One of our officers actually had the chance to speak with her and she told him that she is from Winchester (and) intends on staying here. She had been in Winchester previously in a previous time in her life," Cummings said. "Really, our message to the Winchester community is just that we want to help her transition back into the community and we want folks to leave her alone because those are her wishes."
For people who feel a need to help the Woman in Black, Cummings has a suggestion.
"The best thing you can do is give to a local organization who helps homeless people. She is not taking any money from anybody, any food from anyone, any drink from anyone. She is actually taking resources from law enforcement specifically."
Police are not releasing her identity or talking about the reasons for her walk.
Other media outlets have recently reported similar sightings of a woman dressed all in black. A Reuters story reported that the woman is believed to be an Army veteran who has been struggling to deal with the recent deaths of both her husband and father.
Cummings says the police department has received numerous calls from reporters about the case, and the public's interest is huge.
"It's gotten so big that the server for our Internet crashed." she says.
The only information the department posted on its website about the woman was to ask the public to "respect her privacy."
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