Wednesday, April 2, 2014
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Autopsies have helped identify 63-year-old twin brothers who were found dead last weekend in their Chattanooga home. But the medical examiner still hasn't been able to resolve the mystery of what happened to the brothers and how their bodies could have remained in the home for about three years without anyone noticing.
Police found the skeletal remains of Andrew and Anthony Johnson sitting in their recliners in a living room in their home Saturday. The conditions of the bodies suggested that both men had been dead since 2011.
After the autopsies, investigators still believe the brothers have been dead for about three years. There were no signs of trauma or anything to indicate the two were victims of homicide, but investigators are waiting for the results of toxicology tests to come back, Chattanooga Police Sgt. Wayne Jefferson said.
"Right now there is nothing to indicate that they died of anything outside of natural causes," Jefferson said. He cautioned that results of blood tests that come in later could tell a different story.
The neighbors, according to police, had no idea anything was wrong because there was no odor coming out of the house and the brothers lived like hermits and had little contact with family or anyone else. Jefferson said he believed that somebody continued to mow the brothers' lawn all those years.
Police had actually gone to the Acorn Street home back in 2011 after family members became concerned because they hadn't seen the brothers. The house, according to police, appeared to be vacant, and a note inside the mailbox indicated that mail delivery had stopped because the postal service thought the Johnson brothers had moved.
At the time, police said, there were no signs of anything but a vacant home, so officers did not force their way inside the home. Also, police said a relative said in 2011 that it would be unsurprising if the twins moved without telling anyone in the family.
Family members who had a key to the home called police on Saturday and asked officers to go inside and check the house. Police discovered the bodies after getting permission to open the door.
Investigators say there was no indication that the brothers suffered from mental illness. Both had valid driver's licenses, insurance, owned vehicles and even had records of having owned at least one business in the past. The two reportedly suffered from diabetes.
Chattanooga police say officers who checked the outside of the home in 2011 followed normal procedure because investigators didn't have indication that anything was wrong or evidence that would justify them forcing their way into the house.