WORLD – Freezing temperatures, a malfunctioning oven, a makeshift space heater and a house in need of repairs may have contributed to the death of the actress’s elderly parents who had been in poor health for some time before they were found dead on Monday night.
The death of actress Alicia Witt’s parents, Robert and Diane Witt, at their home in Sussex Lane is still under investigation, according to police, who said there was no apparent shock.
Police also refused to reveal where in the house Waits were found or whether they were together, although a neighbor said he believed they were side by side as they were in life.
“Any time I spent around them they were like one person,” said the neighbor. “one soul.”
The couple was discovered after a relative asked the police to accompany him for a health check around 9:15 p.m., on Monday. The previous night was the coldest of the month, with temperatures dropping as low as 15 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
more:A welfare check discovers that the parents of actress Alicia Witt have died in their home in Massachusetts
A dispatcher told responding officers that a relative had loaned the couple a space heater because theirs had stopped working a week earlier. The officers were also told that the couple had a “low immune system”.
An official said the firefighters tested the air quality inside the house and found no harmful gases, but that it happened after other emergency personnel entered and exited, and opened the doors, which could dissipate any existing gas.
Deputy Fire Chief Adam Roach said space heaters can pose risks. Heaters that can use fossil fuels like propane must be vented to the outside to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can be deadly.
Alicia Witt is unable to reach her parents
Alicia Witt said in a statement that she was unable to reach her parents and asked her cousin to check their condition, which led to their discovery.
Witt, 87, a former teacher, was diagnosed with cancer and booked into the couple’s home on the recommendation of his doctor due to the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to court documents.
Neighbors said the couple were somewhat aloof; They rarely turned on the lights or went out, and the knocks on the door often went unanswered. Court records show that they had no television or computer.
A neighbor said that the furnace had been broken for more than a week, noting that in 2018, when the heating system was faulty, the couple refused the neighbors’ offer to repair it.
One neighbor said she saw what appeared to be “someone from the state” pulling out food once a month.
“In the past four years we haven’t seen them at all,” she said.
The couple used city buses for commuting or accepted rides from at least one neighbor. A neighbor said that after their Volkswagen broke down, a family of rabbits moved into the car, and Mrs. Waite didn’t want to put them down.
One of the neighbors said, “They were really some of the sweetest, kindest souls I have ever met.”
Another neighbor spoke about how proud the Waits family is about Alicia, bragged about her accomplishments and looked forward to her visits.
Court documents indicate that Ms. Waite, 75, may have had health problems related to the damage to her home from the blizzard on December 12, 2008.
Records in this case show that Ms. Waite said she had “serious problems with her.” [her] Breathing, with sleep, congestion and nosebleeds “with” difficulty with memory [and] With contact” due to exposure to mold and fiberglass.
The medical examiner is performing an autopsy
A government medical examiner performs autopsies on Wits to determine the cause and manner of their death. Results may take weeks or longer.
In a lawsuit filed in 2011, the couple claimed that Hanover Insurance did not adequately cover damage to their home, even though documents show the insurance company paid more than $110,000.
However, a Hanover attorney wrote in 2017 that “apart from some initial repairs, plaintiffs have made no effort to repair or replace the damage to their homes, and the home remains in poor condition to this date.”
Records show that initial repairs included a tarpaulin covering over the damaged roof, removal of trees, and removal of wildlife. To this day, the tarp remains over the roof of the ranch-style home despite a 2014 order from the city threatening a $10,000 fine for Waits if it is not removed.
The Waits family has lived in the house since 1979. They have two children, Alicia and younger brother Ian Waite.
Diane Waite was listed in the Guinness Book of Records from 1988 to 1996 for having the longest hair, which grew to about 11 feet.
Alicia Witt Child Prodigy, Actress
Meanwhile, Alicia was described as a child prodigy who, at the age of five, quoted Shakespeare and read college books. At the age of seven, she started piano lessons and surpassed all expectations.
She has since worked in the acting field, appearing in films and TV shows such as “The Walking Dead”, “Twin Peaks”, “Orange is the New Black”, “Dune” and “The Sopranos”.
Court records reveal that Mr. Waite has fallen at least three times and has filed a lawsuit relating to each of those incidents.
In 2012, he allegedly was out of Sovereign Bank in a case that was dismissed. In 2014, he sought compensation for injuries he received in a fall in the parking lot of a Shaw supermarket on West Boylston Street. In 2015, he filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Worcester when he fell into a ditch on Front Street where a tree had been removed. He got $1,000 in this case.
In one of the cases dating back eight years, Mr. Waite wrote that he had “incurable cancer” and was undergoing treatment in Massachusetts. Boston General Hospital.
President Roach said the firefighters were last home in 2014, though he did not have details of that call.
Brad Petrich of Telegram & Gazette staff contributed to this report.