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Retired Durham firefighter's murder a mystery to family

Posted July 19, 2012

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— Donald "Donnie" Watson loved racing so much that he raced stock cars for 40 years.

In the past 10 years, he was a sponsor of a major driver.

He was also a Durham firefighter and captain for more than 33 years before retiring in 1992.

That's when he started Biggs and Watson Towing.

But to Rocky Watson, he was simply "Dad."

"He was rough around the edges, but just as soft on the inside as you could get," Rocky Watson said Thursday. "He just loved doing stuff for people – no matter what it was or who it was. As long as you were trying to do something for yourself, he would do anything for you."

Rocky Watson still doesn't know what happened to his father.

"It's a huge mystery," he said. "It makes it very difficult."

Durham police say Donnie Watson, 74, was found dead and covered in blood in his home on Regis Avenue on July 9.

Donald Watson Retired Durham firefighter's murder a mystery to family

Investigators are treating his death as a homicide. So far, no one has been arrested.

Beyond that, they aren't commenting about the case or a possible motive.

But Donnie Watson's brother, Wayne Watson, fears he might have been targeted.

He says that it wasn't unusual for his brother to help others with their financial problems or loan them a car.

He fears that generosity, along with carrying large amounts of cash in his wallet and wearing expensive gold jewelry, might have been a factor in the attack.

"He was just a super person, hard-headed at times, but with a heart bigger than he was," he said.

A retired Durham police officer, Wayne Watson said his brother died from multiple blunt-force injuries to the head.

"Of all the murders I went to (as a police officer), I never saw a more brutal murder than my brother's, and it hurts," Wayne Watson said. "I'm not doing good. I wake up after sleeping, maybe two hours a night, thinking of him or trying to figure out what the investigators are doing."

Donnie Watson had been at Emerald Isle with his wife in the week before his death, family members say. He returned home on July 7 and met family members at Southern National Speedway in Kenly.

On July 8, he had lunch with his son at his home.

Later that night, sources tell WRAL News, he reportedly went to a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and then to an Internet sweepstakes café on N.C. Highway 98.

A co-worker found his body July 9 after he didn't show up for work.

"It's hard to even mourn right now, because you just don't know anything," Rocky Watson said. "All you can do is try to get back into some kind of routine."

9 Comments

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  • dryjr Jul 20, 2012

    RIP,Good Man and best towing company around by far.

  • RebelCat Jul 20, 2012

    Internet sweepstakes cafe sounds like the place to follow up on and gather leads. Those places give me the creeps.

  • Bartmeister Jul 20, 2012

    But God said by and by the mist will lift and though his eye we see.we hear who or the murder was" esteryates69

    What an novel way to solve a crime!

    ==========================

    And all along I thought they used a Ouija board. Humph........

  • Coretta Scott Thing Jul 20, 2012

    But God said by and by the mist will lift and though his eye we see.we hear who or the murder was" esteryates69

    What an novel way to solve a crime!

  • boneymaroney13 Jul 20, 2012

    How do we put a stop to these senseless killings? The courts and judicial system won't do it. Donnie was a personable guy once you got to know him. Condolances to the family.

  • Bartmeister Jul 20, 2012

    Sure sounds like he was a target. Very sad.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jul 19, 2012

    I wonder if someone followed him home from the internet sweepstakes location, to rob and murder him.

    Praying for those who loved him. Tragic indeed!

  • esteryates69 Jul 19, 2012

    We all know that God did not have any thing or cause this horrible tragedy death of a good man.The weakest in us will ask why,do terrible things happen to good people.But God said by and by the mist will lift and though his eye we see.we hear who or the murder was,very soon i hope.My thought and prayer are with his family and oh so many friends.

  • sssh.. whisper Jul 19, 2012

    Many prayers to this family and that the person(s) responsible for the heinous crime are found soon.