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Twins found dead: Recluse twin skeletons found dead, rotting on recliners

Adrian Sainz / Associated Press
Adrian Sainz / Associated Press
Two 63-year-old men, brothers, were found dead in this Tenn. home.

Twins found dead in a Tennessee home after three years have investigators looking into the circumstances surrounding the bizarre find. The twin brothers’ skeletal remains were discovered last week when police showed up to do a welfare check.

Writes The Associated Press on Monday: “Strange, sad and macabre, the discovery of the skeletal remains of twin brothers Andrew and Anthony Johnson has mystified neighbors and others in Chattanooga and beyond. Each man was found seated in an easy chair inside the modest home they shared for decades, and where they apparently died together about three years ago, with no obvious signs of foul play.”

The hermit twins, both 63 years of age, were rarely seen, neighbors say. Linda Maffett, who lives across the street, said she once saw them outside in their garden, wearing surgical masks. The one time she interacted with them was when she saw one of the brothers collapse on the porch. She hurried over, and was told by the other brother that his twin was deaf, but that he was fine.

“It's a strange story, it's a sad story. I think it's sad that they were sitting there that long with nobody checking on them,” Maffett said. “I didn’t even know their names.”

The house that the Johnsons lived in was unusually silent; vehicles were seen in the driveway and investigators said both brothers had valid licenses, though neighbors rarely saw them come or go. A note left in the mailbox by the USPS indicated that delivery had halted some time ago because the Postal Service assumed the brothers had moved. Yet their grass continued to be cut by a service.

Police said autopsies were done in order to confirm the twins’ identities, and that toxicology results are pending. The fact that both brothers were found dead, rotting in matching recliners in the living room, has led to speculation as to suicide, poisoning or asphyxia.

The AP report states: “The Associated Press could not locate any relatives of the Johnsons. A man who was at the house Thursday ordered a reporter to get away from the property. He declined to identify himself.”

Home records show the brothers purchased the house in 1984.

"I really felt bad that it happened and I didn't have the courage to go barging over there and knock on the door when I had that gut feeling," Maffett said.

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