Chattanooga Twins Dead in Recliners For 3 Years Before Being Found By Police

| by Allison Geller

A pair of 63-year-old twin men were found dead in their Chattanooga, Tenn. home, having apparently died together three years before. Investigators are so far unable to say what happened.

The Associated Press reports that Andrew and Anthony Johnson had lived in the same home for decades. They were occasionally seen by neighbors mowing the lawn, gardening in surgical masks, or going out for groceries, but no one ever spoke to them.

"I didn't even know their names," said across the street neighbor Linda Maffett, a 73-year-old retiree.

Police found the skeletal remains of the twins on March 29 after a relative requested a check on them. The brothers were decomposing in recliners in the living room.

An autopsy indicated that the men had been dead since 2011.

The autopsy didn’t turn up any evidence of trauma or violence. Toxicology tests are ongoing, according to Chattanooga police spokesman Tim McFarland. Police are so far not speculating on the cause of death.

"While this incident is tragic and unfortunate, Andrew and Anthony lived a hermit lifestyle and did not communicate with family or anyone else," a police news release said.

The men were largely an enigma to neighbors and investigators. There are records of their having valid driver’s licenses and even owning a business, but few other details have surfaced about their lives. They have no history of mental illness, police say. 

In 2011, officers went for a welfare check with family but found no signs of forced entry, foul odors, or evidence of foul play. They left, with relatives suggesting that the brothers may have moved without telling anyone.

Some neighbors also assumed the house was vacant; the Johnsons habitually kept it dark and shuttered. The postal service had also stopped delivering mail, leaving a note stating that it thought the residents had moved. And even in the years since the men died, their grass kept getting cut, though no one could say by whom.

Maffett said she never saw the twins speak to each other. One day, when she went to help one of the brothers, who had fallen on his front porch, he told her that his sibling was deaf.

"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," said Maffett.

Sources: Associated Press, WRCB