Authorities suspect that the elderly and ailing parents of Dune and The Walking Dead actress Alicia Witt may have died of hypothermia after their lifeless bodies – one of them clad in a coat – were found inside their Massachusetts home this week.
Robert Witt, 87, and Diane Witt, 75, were discovered unresponsive on Monday, after their 46-year-old daughter asked a relative to perform a welfare check on them because she was unable to reach them.
Police said they had received reports that Witt’s parents had been experiencing ‘furnace problems’ and were using a space heater to heat their dilapidated home, according to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
Investigators tell Boston 25 they now believe that hypothermia – a dangerous drop in body temperature caused by a prolonged exposure to cold – possibly played a role in the couple’s deaths.
One of the parents was said to have been discovered wearing a coat indoors. No obvious signs of trauma were found on the bodies, and no traces of poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide were detected during a subsequent inspection.
‘There were no signs of foul play. It is under investigation,’ police said after the bodies were found in the Sussex Lane home Monday.
The parents of actress Alicia Witt, 46, center, were found dead at their home near Worcester, Massachusetts, on Monday. Authorities suspect that Robert Witt, 87, and Diane Witt, 75, may have died of hypothermia
A relative found the bodies at their home in Worcester (pictured). One of the parents was said to have been clad in a coat indoors
A neighbor told Boston 25 that Robert Witt had cancer, while wife Diane had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
‘She was a frail little thing, a good wind would blow her away,’ the neighbor told the outlet.
The same neighbor said that Alicia was involved in her parents’ lives, and whenever she would be in the area, she would send a car to pick them up. When one of the actress’ films was on TV, Robert and Diane would come over to the neighbor’s house to watch it because ‘they didn’t have a color TV,’ she said.
The grieving actress released a statement Tuesday.
‘I reached out to a cousin who lives close to my parents to check on them. Sadly, the outcome was unimaginable,’ Witt said.
‘I ask for some privacy at this time to grieve and to wrap my head around this turn of events, and this surreal loss.’
The couple, pictured, had been described by a neighbor as having been ill for ‘some time,’ and were using a space heater to heat their home after experiencing ‘furnace problems’
Witt in the 1984 David Lynch film Dune, after being discovered by the film director at the age of eight
Firefighters who responded to the scene reportedly checked the air quality inside the residence and detected no noxious gases.
‘There were no signs of carbon monoxide,’ Worcester Fire Chief Deputy Adam Roche said.
Authorities have yet to confirm the exact cause of death.
An autopsy will be conducted.
‘I can confirm that police were dispatched to the residence and discovered a male and a female deceased,’ Worcester Police Lt. Sean Murtha said.
Witt with her father, Robert Witt, 87, pictured left, and mother, Diane Witt, 75, pictured right
Pictured: Witt in hit horror television series The Walking Dead
The couple had lived in Worcester, about 50 miles east of Boston, for decades, according to reports.
Their daughter began her career at the age of eight after being discovered by David Lynch, who cast her in his version of the sci-fi classic Dune in 1984 and an episode of Twin Peaks.
Witt went on to appear in a number of hit television series, including the Sopranos, Two and a Half Men, The Walking Dead, and Orange is the New Black.
Witt is also a pianist and made her stage debut in Los Angeles in 2001.