Last stand: The Charlottesville Occupier who died

She didn't come to Lee Park to protest. She was just looking for a safe place to sleep.

Now, friends and family are mourning the death of Linda Doig, a former international fashion model who once worked with top designers in Milan and Paris, but whose downward spiral into alcoholism brought her into the Occupy Charlottesville encampment in late November. Within days of setting up camp in the park, she told a reporter, she embraced the movement.

"You have to listen to what they're saying," said Doig. "They're making sense."

During the interview, conducted on November 28, the 51-year-old Doig appeared tearful and frail but mentally lucid as she recalled her glamorous past and the medical issues that ravaged her. She noted that a back injury and other conditions were exacerbated by the outdoor living conditions she endured since getting evicted from an Albemarle County residence in mid-November.

"I don't know where I'm going to go," said Doig, weeping, as her companion, 47-year-old carpenter Carey Hicks, squeezed her hand and expressed sympathy for her situation.

"She had further to fall than I did," Hicks said of their sudden homelessness.

Sources indicate that Doig's family members, who had been trying to find her since her eviction, had obtained a room for her in an area motel soon after she left Lee Park; but her health appears to have deteriorated rapidly over the ensuing days.

At 3:30am on Monday, December 5– less than a week after speaking with a reporter– rescue personnel and police were summoned to the Econo-Lodge on Emmet Street, where an unresponsive Doig had been discovered by a companion.

"There were no signs of life," says Charlottesville Police Spokesperson Ronnie Roberts, who says resuscitation efforts failed.

An autopsy reveals her death was natural and resulted from complications of chronic alcoholism.


Hope she accepted the Big Occupier up above. RIP

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I'm not much for organized religion, the organization tending over time to detract from the philosphy, but I have been appalled at the vitriol I've seen spewed towards the occupiers.

Shame on us.

Prayers for Carey and Linda's family.
So sorry for your loss.

@ Barbara Myer...Amen! Judgement says nothing of the judged.

As an occupier who met Linda her first night in our camp, i am devastated to find out about her death in a newspaper. She was an incredible woman and a beautiful spirit. I am so grateful i got to meet her and hear some of her story. And i am devastated that she probably spent her last minutes alone, when there were so many people who cared about her. May she find herself freer wherever she may be now. With love to you, Linda, we will miss you.

She treated me like a daughter years back, even through her problems, and I promise to look out for her daughter, my childhood friend, in return. R.I.P. ):

Deleted by moderator.

You know what's not funny? How people who are actually brainless and untalented take time to insult the deceased.

Linda tired so hard. Especially to be a good mother. She treated me like a daughter too. So many memories... Right, Saskia? Remember the sleepovers? We'll always be your tropical fish, Linda. Rest in Peace.

What a sad story. I had no personal interaction with this woman in my life, but decided to do a little research. The article did not lie, this woman was once a high-fashion model who had since retired to the burbs under less than satisfactory circumstances. She became homeless only a few months ago and in a horrible turn of events, went from being a disadvantaged suburbanite to homeless person to dead in less than a year. Despite whatever personal flaws she may have had, she did not deserve this. What a wonderful country that allows a mother who has supported herself for 50 years to be dumped onto the street and die alone in a budget motel paid for by friends and relatives. So sad.. if only conservative side had any level of empathy for anyone but people they personally know...

The occupiers spoke so highly of living and sharing with the homeless of Charlottesville in Lee park, but that is as far as the noble words traveled. They were so glad to have met her there, but they left her there to rot none the less. How many of those noble speakers took their convictions home with them, or did they all leave their words behind in Lee Park?

The record is not correct regarding Linda's demise. I know she was NOT evicted by the people who provided her housing for almost one year because they entrusted Linda's care to Social Services instead of evicting her....why? Because their care for people rose above what the courts gave them the right to do. Unfortunately, the promises made by this government agency were not kept and they allowed Linda to check herself out of the hospital. Once again the agencies put in place to protect us have let us down.

SadWorld: I have to take exception to your comments about "conservatives". I knew Linda personally for many years, before she moved to Va. The people who let her down were the enablers - mostly, other alcoholics and drug addicts - who too often surrounded her and allowed her to follow a path of self destruction.

Back when she had money, those same kinds of people took advantage of her, frequently. I'm going to hazard a guess that they weren't conservatives. No, check that; I know that they weren't conservatives, because they were very adept at spouting liberal platitudes between swigs of vodka and puffs on a joint.

Linda was a very decent and generous person, at heart, but there is only so much one can do to protect an adult from her own worst instincts. Most of us did what we could do. You would do well to shut up.

We humans like other animals, seldom last long on the streets unless we are really young and lucky for awhile. Lost and broken in spirit, the life force ebbs. Can't happen to you, cocky conservative d'bag? Don't be so sure.

What an awful story to have to read. I hate to say it, but the Occupy movement could have maybe had kept this woman alive. Having the company of a group of people and someone to maybe call for medical help if she needed it would have been a good thing. I know I have read and heard on T.V. that some think the movement is "bad" because of the homeless people, but this could have been a lifeline for this woman. Some may not like the idea of this movement, but this just shows that in this world everyone needs some help sometime, and that part of what this movement is about.


See, you knew here personally, which was Sad World's point. No doubt she had enablers, and it is entirely possible some of those enablers proclaimed themselves liberals. But liberals hardly have a monopoly on drug abuse, alcohol abuse and other vices. The difference is liberals tend to not be hypocrites about it and stand on pulpits spitting vitriol at those who suffer them. Nor do they rage at groups who might believe at solving problems in a more communal way.

I might agree that throwing money at the problem isn't a solution, and that ultimately some cannot truly be helped, but I find the nastiness from the Conservative side towards group like OWS to be absolutely as un-Christian as it comes.

The government let her down by allowing her to check herself out of the free treatment/living program she was in. We live in a country that doesn't allow the government to imprison us if we don't commit a crime. Personal freedom requires a certain amount of personal responsibility and perhaps there will be some casualties as a result. If the person is unable to resist drugs/alcohol but has not committed a crime, hopefully family or friends can assist. Stop looking for the government to do everything for you.

meant to have a question mark after that first sentence.

@ red: "We live in a country that doesn't allow the government to imprison us if we don't commit a crime...."

You may want to rethink that statement in light of Obama choosing to *not* veto the National Defense Authorization Act 1867, which passed on December 16th. While America was fixated on reality TV programs, sports, how many shopping days left til Christmas and Lindsay Lohan's Playboy spread, Obama just gave the okay for the Federal government to imprison any American, at any time, indefinitely, with no trial, for any reason that they deem to be a terrorist threat.

"If this is signed into law, it will shred the remaining tenants of the Bill of Rights and unleash upon America a total military dictatorship, complete with secret arrests, secret prisons, unlawful interrogations and indefinite detainment without people ever being charged with a crime. It will cause the torture of Americans and even the "legitimate assassination" of U.S. citizens overseas and also right here on American soil!" -

So yeah, you may want to rethink your statement red.

boooo -- I have read a few articles about that bill and actually read some of the language of the bill itself, and, as far as I can tell, the alarmist stuff is wrong. The law doesn't allow the imprisonment of Americans without the protection of law at all. It will allow for the capture and imprisonment of some non-americans (it also doesn't apply to resident aliens) captured abroad in some circumstances. I am not a fan of the bill nor of the entire homeland security establishment, but I think the fears about it are so overblown and inaccurate they render the debate worthless. The country is not perfect by any means, but we do enjoy a very high general level of protection from our government. The idea that the government failed her because she was legally able to check herself out of a free treatment program strikes me as absurd.

Many a good person has been ruined by drink, she being one of many, but prohibition didn't work, and you can't force rehab without a Court order. Its a cautionary tale for sure.

Sam above is spot on. This is a tale of substance abuse and, probably, some mental illness. Tragic, but what could have been done? Government? Come on...private charities and religious charities (ugh!) do a much better job. Those of you who try to cast this poor woman as a poster child for the Occupy Movement should be ashamed; that includes anti- and pro-occupy factions. She was a tragic wanderer who stumbled upon a park in which to sleep (and I say that only factually, with no judgment).
There are shortcomings all around, and the occupiers were not really about some mythical 99 percent, no more than the anti-factions wanted to let a woman die young.
Stop with the vitriol, and recognize that government is not the solution. Common sense among private parties is the answer.
R.I.P.: Ken Curtis

Being a 20+ year recovering Alcoholic I know from experience that there is no one to blame for Ms. Doig's demise but Ms. Doig herself. In order for a person to abstain from drinking once they are in the throws of Alcoholism they themselves must make the decision to not drink! No amount of intervention no matter how well intentioned will stop a person from drinking, unless you could lock them up, but I promise you that the minute they are released (unless they have made the decision to stop) they will seek out a drink. I have worked with and around many people in the last 20 or so years that suffer from this terrible life shattering addiction but not one of them quit drinking because of the actions or lack thereof of others. Everyone I know that has been successful in quitting did so after making a personal decision to do so. There is however no doubt that a good support network is vital in sticking to that decision the first step is up to the individual.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Ms. Doig, Godspeed

I find it extremely amusing that people have the audacity to blame other people's political beliefs on this wonderful woman's article. You blame and blame and blame, and is it getting anyone anywhere? No. She could have been helped. People tried to help. But there's only so much a few people can do under the law, and when they wanted the law to help, it didn't.

As for the "free government" comments, this is not true. She had struggled with alcoholism so often, that it was right to say she could not make her own clear, healthy decisions at the time she was at the hospital. Social services, under that concern, could have made her stay. She had even agreed to stay if they had found a place for her. And if the government couldn't hold her and help her, why did they assure family and friends that they could?

But, they let her out. And while her family and friends found her and helped her, there is a lot more to the story, especially surrounding the lies and negative influences by the one person she tried to find a friend in the most. But that's not something to focus on now.

To all those who posted great, warming comments, thank you.
To those who wanted to bicker, step back and maybe think of the people you affect with those comments.

Linda would not want bickering and anger. She was a kind soul.

- A friend

I am not sure to what the last post is alluding, but it is plain to see that Carey Hicks (her "companion") was not a friendly drunk (see his court record). One worries what Ms. Doig's future held if her body had survived the beating it took from booze and abuse. Tragic story for her and her family.
R.I.P.: Bon Scott

Charlottesville is completely awash in cocaine. So is UVA. Substance abuse - including alcohol - is a core value here. Young, attractive women are consumed as through a meat grinder. They often end up discarded, broke, and addicted once they lose their model looks. Take a good look at the restaurant and music communities around here.

RIP, Ms. Doig. She had a friend in Travis, but probably not many others.

How about a Alcohol Consumption Reduction Policy? No, not prohibition, just discouragement of use.

Does anyone know where the daugther is? I am a family friend who has been trying to reach her. Her phone is not taking messages- Can anyone confirm her whereabouts or tell me she is safe?. Thanks -

@ concerned mom. Her dear friend from California, just told me her daughter is with a guardian
until she finishes high school and will go to California to be with her father.
I knew Linda from a chat room about 4 yrs. ago. We were like family there. So sad to hear of her
tragic end. R. I . P Beechy!!!

I also knew Beechy from the chat room about four years ago.
we had some laughs and had a good time talking, she once told me she wanted to come and visit me in va, and go out to lunch and go shopping .. We never did, sadly. I bet we would of had a great time.
She was a beautiful woman and so sad her life ended so young.. My heart goes out to her sole and to her daughter.