Douglas Wagg Jr: What Happened to Him? How Did He Die?

In July 1991, Douglas Wagg Jr., living with his newlywed wife in North Carolina and expecting a child, saw his dreams of becoming a father and finding fulfillment cut short. He was found on the railway tracks in Williamston, North Carolina. Before the train driver could see him, the train ran over Douglas, resulting in his death. The sixth season of the Counterclockwise podcast and Crime Junkie’s episode ‘Mysterious Death of: Douglas Wagg Jr.’ examine the evidence that has guided the case for more than 30 years, presenting different theories to explain Doug’s death.

Douglas Wagg Jr.’s Wife Was Pregnant When He Went Missing

Douglas Wagg Jr., born on March 26, 1964, was the son of Shirley and Douglas Wagg Sr. Growing up in Illinois with four younger siblings, Doug thrived socially and creatively, always smiling and looking after his brothers and sisters. However, during his teenage years, his parents noticed a change. Doug began withdrawing from them, becoming more aloof and distant. He also started spending days away from home, marking a significant shift from his previously cheerful and engaged demeanor.

Doug’s father shared that their relationship was strained, often marred by anger and frustration due to Doug’s behavior. Doug’s reticence prevented his family from understanding his troubles, and he spent more time away from home. Despite these challenges, Doug managed to graduate in 1982. However, by then, he was already grappling with drug addiction. According to his school friends, although Doug would drink beers with them, the use of hard drugs was uncommon in their circle, indicating that Doug sought out these substances on his own.

In the late 1980s, Doug’s parents separated; by this time, he had already moved away from home. He lost touch with his family, and they were unaware of his whereabouts. The rare times Doug did write to them, his letters came from different parts of the country. In January 1990, Doug contacted an uncle and shared that he had experienced a spiritual awakening and wanted to turn his life around by going to rehab and tackling his addiction. His uncle invited him to North Carolina, where Doug seemed to get his life back on track. During this period, he met a woman named Sandy Lewis.

Doug felt like he had found a purpose in life with Sandy. When she told him in March 1991 that she was pregnant, Doug decided to build a family with her. They got married on May 10, 1991, and eagerly awaited the arrival of their child. On July 5, Doug and Sandy planned to go for an outing. Before leaving, Doug told her that he was stepping out and would return shortly. However, he never came back.

Douglas Wagg Jr.’s Body was Found on Rail Tracks in North Carolina

On July 8, 1991, around 1 a.m., a train passed through Williamston, North Carolina. The driver saw someone lying on the tracks with their head on one side and their feet on the other, facing away from him. Despite blowing the horn multiple times, there was no response. Unable to stop in time, the train ran over the person. When the police arrived, the driver explained what had happened. The police removed the body from the scene and released the driver.

The family of Douglas Wagg Jr. was informed that he had been in an accident on the railway tracks in Williamston and was asked to identify him. They raised suspicions about how the police had identified the body, given that Doug had no ID cards, was not from the area, and his face had been severely injured. The police sent the body for forensic analysis, which confirmed the identity as Doug. The forensic report concluded that Doug had died from a head injury, but it remained unclear whether the injury had occurred during the train accident or beforehand.

Another police officer from a neighboring county took an interest in the case and voluntarily picked it up. He visited the site where Doug had been run over and discovered a few clumps of hair in the opposite direction from where the train had come. He also noticed some drag and tire marks in the pedestrian crossing, which led him to suspect that Doug had been injured elsewhere and then placed on the tracks. Doug had no plausible reason to be so far away from home in such a remote location, which was difficult to reach on foot. Additionally, a toxicology report determined that Doug did not have any alcohol in his system, and the remnants of cocaine found were relatively mild and unlikely to have influenced his behavior significantly.

Doug’s death had initially been filed as an accident. However, in July 2022, new evidence emerged, including the findings of a police officer suggesting a possible homicide and reports of Doug being seen with two men associated with the drug trade a day before his death. These new leads prompted the police to reopen the investigation. Authorities have since asked for the public’s help in providing information about the case.

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