Mysterious ‘Woman in Black’ trekking highways is US vet

By Reuters

A woman dressed in all black who has been spotted strolling along highways in the US Southeast and Midwest needed police assistance after she was surrounded by a group of about 50 curious people in Virginia, authorities said Wednesday.

Police in Winchester, Virginia, took the person — who wears flowing robes and has been dubbed “the Woman in Black” on social media — to an undisclosed location and fed her after the incident Tuesday evening, police said in a statement.

“She has expressed to officers that she wants to be left alone and is asking that the public respect her wishes,” said the Winchester Police Department, adding that she intends to stay in the community.

Police did not release her name, but she is thought to be Elizabeth Poles, 56, who used to live in Georgia and is originally from Alabama.

The woman has garnered attention in recent weeks from TV stations, police and 51,000 followers on a Facebook page on which she has been tracked walking with a black bag and stick in hand on a nearly 850-mile journey from Ranger, Georgia, to Winchester.

Poles is a US Army veteran, mother of two children and a widow from Motts, Alabama, who had been receiving treatment at Veterans Affairs hospitals to deal with the deaths of her husband in 2008 and her father in 2009, her brother Raymond said Friday.

According to her brother, Poles recently began to wander for months at a time.


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