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Brothers found dead in home had not been seen since 2011

Twin brothers whose bodies were found last week in the home they shared in Chattanooga, Tenn., were recluses living a "hermit lifestyle," a police officer said.
By Frances Burns   |   April 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM   |   Comments

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., April 7 (UPI) -- Twin brothers whose bodies were found last week in the home they shared in Chattanooga, Tenn., were recluses living a "hermit lifestyle," a police officer said.

Investigators are unsure when Andrew and Anthony Johnson died. The brothers had not been seen for three years and had not paid taxes since 2011.

The U.S. Postal Service put a vacancy notice on the door, apparently assuming the brothers had moved without leaving a forwarding address.

Police have said there are no obvious signs of foul play. Investigators remained unsure whether the brothers died at the same time and were awaiting toxicology reports.

Ironically, police did a welfare check on the brothers in 2011, alerted by concerned family members. But officers left after no one responded to knocks on the door because there was no sign of anything amiss.

"Andrew and Anthony lived a hermit lifestyle," Tim McFarland, public information officer for the Chattanooga Police, said in a news release last Tuesday on the find.

McFarland said the officers who visited the house in 2011 followed "department protocol."

Neighbors said they rarely saw the brothers, who bought the house in 1984. Barbara Owens said when she saw them it was usually in the fall, when they would clear fallen leaves.

"Even when they were raking leaves, they would be side by side," Owens said. "Like they were helping each other, like they needed each other."

Some in the neighborhood said the grass was trimmed on the property, leading them to believe either the brothers or someone else was looking after it. But they said they have since learned that property owners cutting their own grass would do the same at the Johnson home when the yard started getting unkempt.

[Chattanooga Times Free Press]

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