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What caused Alicia Witt’s parents to die?  The investigation is continuing.  This is what we know

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What caused Alicia Witt’s parents to die? The investigation is continuing. This is what we know

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Alicia Witt’s parents’ house on Sussex Lane on Thursday 23 December.

WORCESTER – Freezing temperatures, a faulty oven, a temporary heater and a house in need of repair may have contributed to the deaths of an actress’ elderly parents who had been in poor health for some time before they were found dead on Monday evening.

The deaths of actress Alicia Witt’s parents Robert and Diane Witt at their Sussex Lane home are still under investigation, according to police, who said there was no trauma apparent.

Police also declined to say where in the house the Witts were found or if they were together, although a neighbor said he believed they would have been side by side as they were in life. .

“Whenever I passed around them, they were like one person,” said the neighbor. “A soul.”

The couple were discovered after a relative asked police to accompany them on a welfare check around 9:15 p.m. Monday. The night before was the coldest of the month, with temperatures reaching 15 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Following: Welfare check finds actress Alicia Witt’s parents dead in their Massachusetts home

A dispatcher told officers who responded that a relative loaned the couple a heater because their furnace had stopped working a week earlier. Officers were also told the couple had “a compromised immune system.”

Firefighters tested the air quality inside the house and found no harmful gases, but that was after other emergency personnel walked in and out, opening the doors, which could have dissipated any existing gas, an official said.

Radiators can present dangers, said Deputy Fire Chief Adam Roche. Heaters that can use fossil fuels such as propane should be vented to the outdoors to prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can be fatal.

Alicia Witt unable to reach her parents

Alicia Witt said in a statement that she was unable to reach her parents and asked a cousin to watch them, which led to the discovery.

Mr Witt, 87, a former teacher, had been diagnosed with cancer and confined to the couple’s home on the recommendation of his doctor due to the risk of COVID-19, court documents show.

Neighbors said the couple were somewhat reclusive; they rarely turned on the lights or went out rarely, and knocking on the door often went unanswered. They did not have cable TV or a computer, according to court records.

A neighbor said the furnace had been out of order for well over a week, recalling that in 2018, when the heating system was faulty, the couple declined the neighbor’s offer to fix it.

A neighbor said she saw what appeared to be “someone from the state” drop off food once a month.

“In the past four years we haven’t seen them at all,” she said.

The couple used city buses for transportation or accepted trips from at least one neighbor. After their Volkswagen broke down, a family of rabbits moved into the vehicle and Ms Witt didn’t want them kicked out, a neighbor said.

“He was truly one of the kindest, sweetest souls I have ever met,” said a neighbor.

Another neighbor said how proud the Witts are of Alicia, bragging about her accomplishments and looking forward to her visits.

Court documents indicate Ms Witt, 75, may have had health issues related to damage to their home from the December 12, 2008 ice storm.

The records of this case show that Ms Witt said she suffered from “serious health problems. [her] breathing, with sleep, congestion and nosebleeds “, as well as” difficulty with memory [and] with communication “due to exposure to mold and fiberglass.

Forensic pathologist performing autopsy

The state medical examiner performs autopsies on the Witts to determine the cause and manner of their death. Results may take weeks or more.

In a court case filed in 2011, the couple alleged that Hanover Insurance did not sufficiently cover the damage to their home, although documents show the insurance company paid more than $ 110,000.

However, the Hanover lawyer wrote in 2017 that “with the exception of some rudimentary repairs, the plaintiffs have made no effort to repair or replace the damage to their house, and it remains in a state of repair. advanced dilapidation to this day ”.

The rudimentary repairs included a tarp over the damaged roof, removal of trees and removal of wildlife, records show. To this day, a tarp remains on the roof of the ranch-style home despite a 2014 city order threatening to fine the Witts $ 10,000 if it is not removed.

The Witt’s had lived in the house since 1979. They had two children, Alicia and her younger brother, Ian Witt.

Diane Witt was listed in the Guinness World Records from 1988 to 1996 for having the longest hair, which had reached around 11 feet.

Alicia Witt child prodigy, actress

Meanwhile, Alicia was called a child prodigy who, at the age of 5, was quoting Shakespeare and reading college textbooks. At 7, she began piano lessons and excelled beyond all expectations.

She has since pursued an acting career, appearing in films and television shows such as “The Walking Dead”, “Twin Peaks”, “Orange is the New Black”, “Dune” and “The Sopranos”.

Court records show Mr Witt fell at least three times and took legal action related to each of those incidents.

In 2012, he alleged that he fell out of Sovereign Bank in a case that was dismissed. In 2014, he sought damages for injuries he sustained in a fall in the parking lot of Shaw’s supermarket on West Boylston Street. And in 2015, he brought a civil action against the city of Worcester when he fell into a hole on Front Street where a tree had been removed. He received $ 1,000 in this case.

In one case dating back eight years, Mr Witt wrote that he had “incurable cancer” and was undergoing treatment in Massachusetts. Boston General Hospital.

Chief Roche said firefighters were last home in 2014, although he did not have details of the call.

Brad Petrishen of Telegram & Gazette staff contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: What Caused the Death of Alicia Witt’s Parents? Here is what we know.

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