Twin sisters Martha Young Williams and Jean Young Haley, both 97, died together tragically on the same day, just about 25 feet from each other, after they both fell and became stranded in freezing temperatures outside Haley’s Rhode Island home.
The Barrington Police Department said that the 97-year-old twin sisters, both found unresponsive on Saturday morning, in freezing temperatures, outside twin sister Haley’s home in Rhode Island, appeared to have died overnight, according to Providence Journal.
Police said Williams was found lying face down on the driveway while her sister was found lying on the ground inside the garage, CNN reports.
A neighbor found the women on Saturday morning, about 25 feet away from each other, Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said. The neighbor called for help around 8 a.m. Officers rushed to the scene and drove the women to the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, but they were both pronounced dead although Haley was still moving when she was found.
The two apparently died of hypothermia, after lying in the cold for more than 11 hours, according to the Washington Post.
Overnight temperatures were reportedly as low as 11 degrees, with winds chills about minus 8.
Although a cause of death had not been officially determined, investigators said they did not suspect foul play. Police investigators believed that twin sister Williams of East Providence might have fallen in the driveway while walking to her car after an evening out on Friday with their 89-year-old little sister, who drove the twins to Haley’s house in her car and left immediately at about 8:30 p.m. before the accidents occurred.
Sister Haley, according to investigators, might have tripped on a rug in the garage while hurrying inside the house to the phone to call for help.
Haley’s home on Opechee Drive is rather isolated. The sprawling home is located at the end of a lonely lane overlooking the Hundred Acre Cove. The house had belonged to her husband John W. Haley Jr., a World War II Army captain who died in 1995.
Mr. Haley had fought in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge and was involved in operations to liberate concentration camps in Belgium, according to the Providence Journal.
Following the tragic incident, grieving family members said in a statement that they found comfort in knowing the two best friends spent the final moments of their lives together. They said they were comforted by the fact that the twins entered the world together and left together, while one was trying to save the other.
“They came into life together and they died together,” Jean Haley’s son, John Haley, said, according to Time. “It was kind of a comforting feeling to know they were still together.That’s the way they came in and that’s the way they went out.”
“[The twins had a] great passion for life and were an inspiration to us all. They lived their 97 years to the fullest with charm, grace, kindness and style and will be remembered with fondness by the many people whose lives they touched.”
John had rushed to the hospital after receiving a call and found the twins lying in gurneys side by side after having been pronounced dead. He told the doctors to keep them together.
According to John, his mother and her sister had always been best friends and lived close to each other throughout their long lives.
“They did everything together,” he said.
He added that although the family was grieving the loss of the sisters they took consolation in the fact that they died together as they would have preferred.
“Twins have something special,” John Haley said. “The way we look at it too, if one of them had gone before the other one, they would have been miserable. It’s kind of beautiful in a way.”
Williams’ daughter, Susan, 67, echoed John’s sentiments. She said it would have been very hard for either sister to have to live without the other after a fatal accident.
“The two of them together made a whole, complete person. They completed each other.”
Police authorities said foul play was not suspected in the death of the sisters. But an autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of their death. The results of the autopsies were still pending on Monday, according to the coroner’s office. However, investigators believe that below freezing temperatures overnight contributed to their death.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Barrington Police Department, our deepest sympathies and condolences are extended to the Haley and Williams’families during their tragic loss.”
The sisters were healthy and active at the time of their death, John said. Both were fun-loving and enjoyed dining out together. They were well known at the local restaurants they frequented. They often dined at the Eats Restaurant in Seekonk, Massachusetts, said owner George Mihailides.
“They were extraordinary, a real class act,” he said.
He said he had often asked them about the secret of their longevity but concluded on his own that their “upbeat attitude” was the secret of their long lives.
[Featured Image by Yakov Oskanov/Shutterstock]