Police: Adult twins whose bodies were found together in home died of heart disease, diabetes

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In this Thursday, April 3, 2014 photo, a home is shown where the skeletal remains of 63-year-old twin brothers were found on March 29, in Chattanooga, Tenn., when police made a welfare check. Results of autopsies and toxicology examinations released by the Chattanooga Police Department show Anthony Larry Johnson died as a result of arteriosclerotic heart disease. Shortly afterward, his twin, Andrew Gary Johnson, died of diabetes mellitus. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)


Twins Anthony and Andrew Johnson lived with each other in a quiet neighborhood in Tennessee. One helped treat the other's diabetes. They tended their lawn together, went to the grocery store together and they were found dead together.

Their decomposing bodies were discovered in the spring by police who found their remains in recliner chairs in their living room. Authorities determined at the time that they had been dead for about three years, but what killed them remained a mystery until Wednesday, when results of autopsies and toxicology exams showed Anthony Larry Johnson died of heart disease. Shortly afterward, his twin, Andrew Gary Johnson, died of diabetes.

Andrew Johnson had been relying on his brother to monitor glucose levels and insulin dosage because he was disabled and had severe vision problems, said Chattanooga police spokesman Tim McFarland. So when Anthony Johnson died, his brother could not treat his illness, and he died too.

Their skeletal remains were found March 29. At the time, police said they were 63 years old.

Autopsies revealed no signs of injury or foul play. The exact time between the brothers' deaths was not immediately released.

The Johnsons' bodies were found just a few weeks after the mummified remains of a woman were found in the garage of a suburban Detroit home. Both cases prompted conversations about how well Americans keep in touch with their neighbors.

After the Johnsons' bodies were found, neighbors said they had not seen the brothers in at least a couple of years. They said the Johnsons kept to themselves and didn't associate with others in Chattanooga's quiet Hixson community. They might be seen working on their lawns wearing surgical masks or going for groceries together. Blinds blocked any view into the white house.

The Johnsons' house remained dark, with no exterior lighting, even at night, neighbors said.

Police made a welfare check on them in 2011 at the request of a relative, but found nothing untoward to lead them to break into the house. They said a relative told them that it would be unsurprising if the twins moved without telling anyone in the family.

Although the Johnson brothers had stopped cutting their own grass, neighbors said it kept getting cut. A note inside the mailbox indicated that mail delivery had stopped because the postal service thought the Johnson brothers had moved.

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