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Nothing is known about his life before the outbreak. All that is known about him is that he had a mother named Jenny, a father named Morgan and presumably attended middle school. He is possibly religious as he is seen saying grace at the dinner table with his father. He may have lived somewhere in Georgia.
When the outbreak began, his family fled to King County and took refuge in the house that once belonged to Fred and Cindy Drake, neighbors of Rick Grimes. His mother was either bitten or succumbed to a fever and turned into a walker. Duane and his father became very depressed and were forced to leave her out on the street to roam.
Outside his house, Rick Grimes sits on the steps. He spots a a man stumbling down the road and waves his hand to try and get his attention. As he is doing this, Duane creeps up from behind and hits him with a shovel. "Carl, I found you", Rick mutters. "Daddy I got this sumbitch! I'm gonna smack him dead!" Duane screams. Morgan approaches the stumbling man Rick was waving to and shoots him in the head. He then proceeds to walk towards Rick and points a revolver in his face. "What's that bandage for? You tell me, or I will kill you," Morgan asks him, cocking the gun at his face. Before he can answer, Rick passes out.
Later that night, Rick wakes up with his arms and legs tied to a bed. The young boy, Duane, stands guard with a baseball bat. "Did you get bit?" Morgan asks Rick stiffly, having changed his bandages though Rick's gunshot wound that has mostly healed. "Just shot, as far as I know," Rick says. Morgan checks his forehead and says if he had "the fever" it would have killed him by now, so he sets him free of the bedposts with a switchblade, but not before telling him that if he tries anything, he will not hesitate to kill him. He then offers him a seat at their dinner table.
Morgan tells Rick not to look out the window because they will see the light. He then begins to explain the story of the outbreak and the following days to a confused and disoriented Rick. "I never should have fired that gun today. The sound draws 'em. Now they're all over the street." Rick accuses Morgan of shooting a man in cold blood. "It was a walker," Morgan corrects. He adds that they get more active after dark sometimes.
Before they begin eating dinner, Duane insists that his father give a blessing. "Lord, please watch over us in these crazy days," Morgan says, and proceeds to explain to Rick that the man he shot would have tried to eat them. "One thing I do know, don't you get bit. Bites kill. The fever burns you out. But then after a while... You come back." Morgan explains."Seen it happen," Duane adds solemnly.
After dinner, the trio talk about Rick's son, Carl, and Rick satisfies a lingering curiosity shared by Duane and Morgan as to what line of work would put someone in a position to be shot at. "Sheriff's deputy," Rick remarks. Morgan smiles and says, "Duane thought you were a bank robber." Suddenly, a car alarm starts to go off outside and the trio turns off the lights.
Morgan and Rick peer out to the street through heavy covered windows and boarded up doors. The street is filled with walkers, drawn by the noise of the alarm. As the zombified Jenny walks up to the front door of the house, Duane runs away crying. Morgan comforts his son while Rick stares at her through the peephole at the front door. "She died in the other room on that bed. I should have put her down. I just didn't have it in me. She's the mother of my child." Morgan confesses with sorrow.
The next morning, Rick walks outside in a face shield, carrying a baseball bat. "We're sure they're dead? I have to ask," says Rick, approaching a walker sitting near the stoop. "They're dead. Except for something in the brain. That's why it's gotta be the head," Morgan assures him, exiting the house with Duane.
Rick approaches the walker and swings the bat repeatedly at his head, beating it down until it stops moving. He quickly becomes fatigued, most likely from his still-healing gunshot wound.
Back at the house, Rick tells Morgan he thinks his wife and son are still alive. He explains he found empty drawers in the bedrooms and the family pictures and photo albums were gone. "Photo albums. My wife, same thing. There I am packing survival gear; she's grabbing photo albums," Morgan laughs, getting emotional over the memory. Duane suggests to Rick that they could be in Atlanta. Morgan explains that the government was telling people to head to a refugee center there with military protection and food, before the broadcasts stopped. He also explains that the C.D.C. is rumored to be working on a cure.
Duane, Morgan and Rick head to the King County Sheriff's Department, where they luxuriate in hot showers thanks to a separate propane heating system. Afterward, Rick packs a duffel bag with guns and changes into his sheriff's uniform and hat. He hands Morgan a rifle and some ammunition.
They head outside and start loading the weapons into the trunk of his cruiser. Rick prepares to set off for Atlanta, while Morgan says he'll follow in a few days, once Duane has learned to shoot. Rick hands Morgan a walkie-talkie and he tells him to turn it on every day at dawn to make contact. Before leaving, Morgan gives Rick a warning: "They may not seem like much one at a time. But in a group, all riled up and hungry? Man, you watch your ass." However, the farewell is interrupted when Rick spots a reanimated Leon who claws at the chain link fence separating them. Rick admits he didn't think much of the young officer, but he won't leave him like this. He shoots him in the forehead with his revolver, putting him down. Then, he and Morgan drive away from the sheriff's department in opposite directions.
Back home, Duane is covering the windows before dark. Morgan heads up to the attic carrying Rick's rifle he left him. He looks at old photo albums and pictures of his wife. Tearfully, he positions the rifle facing the street and begins shooting walkers. He commands Duane to stay downstairs when his son gets startled by the gunshots. "Come on, baby," he says, hoping the noise will draw his wife into view. But when she appears, he breaks down, still unable to shoot her.
While Rick is reading the chalkboard, a message catches his eye that reads "Duane Turned". Later, Morgan tells Rick that he left Duane alone while he searched a basement. When he returned, he saw that Duane had his gun pointed at Jenny, but he couldn't do it, so Jenny attacked Duane. Morgan then tells Rick that he shot Jenny himself, but it was too late and Duane was bitten. It is unknown whether Morgan put down Duane or left him to roam as a zombie.
Duane briefly appears in a flashback as Morgan breaks down over Benjamin's death.
- Killed By
- Jenny Jones (Infected)
After Morgan went into a basement to look for supplies, an undead Jenny approached Duane. As she approached, Duane couldn't bring himself to kill his mother. Morgan, returning from the basement, yells for him. As he turns towards his father, Jenny pounces and begins to bite Duane forcing Morgan to finally kill his undead wife. Duane died from his injuries and turned.
It is unknown if Morgan killed him after he turned or if he let him roam off as a zombie.
This list shows the victims Duane has killed:
- Numerous counts of zombies
- "I was checking out a cellar, and I didn't want Duane to come down with me and when I came up.... she was standing there right in front of him and he had his gun up and he couldn't do it. So I called to him, and he turned. And she was just-- just on him. And I see red, I see red. Everything is red, everything I see is red and I do it!"
- —Morgan tells Rick how Duane died[src]
Duane loves his father very much and Morgan comforts Duane when he is sad. When an undead Jenny Jones is spotted by Duane, he cries since it was his mother and Morgan hugs him. During the episode, "Days Gone Bye", Morgan corrects Duane's grammar. Also, during dinner, Morgan and Duane hold hands and pray. Morgan also does not trust his son with a firearm since he cannot shoot. After Duane's death, Morgan suffers a mental breakdown and decides to kill every survivor he comes across.
After reclaiming his sanity, Morgan very rarely mentions Duane, possibly trying not to think of his son to avoid letting his grief overwhelm him. However, after Benjamin's death and his own killing of Richard, who caused Benjamin's death, Morgan refers to Benjamin as 'Duane' before almost breaking down. This shows that despite the time that has passed since his son's death, Morgan still deeply misses him and continues to grieve for him.
Duane loved his mother, Jenny, very much. Every time Duane or Morgan sees her undead self, he breaks down in tears. This suggests that Duane misses his mother a lot. It is revealed that Jenny attacks Duane, and he turns because he does not shoot her before he is infected.
- "That's right. It's not a toy. You pull the trigger, you have to mean it. Always remember that, Duane."
- —Rick to Duane over the safety of firearms[src]
Though Rick and Duane do not interact much, Duane knocked out Rick assuming he was a walker. After being tied down and explained what is going on with the world, Rick takes Morgan and Duane to the police station. While there, Rick gives Morgan weapons and a hot shower. Rick hands Duane a pistol and Morgan takes it away swiftly. Rick then tells Duane to take care of Morgan and Duane replies with "yes sir".
Later on, when he is looking throughout Morgan's house months after, he eventually finds out Duane turned as of what was written on the wall. Rick seemed saddened afterwards.
- "Bury Me Here" (Flashback)
- The character's name is a reference to the 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, which starred Duane Jones, an African-American actor who portrayed the lead character in the film, Ben.
- Duane is the second member of his family to die and turn into a walker.
- Duane appears to be a couple of years older in the TV series than his comic series counterpart.