Clare and Rachel Wallmeyer, in their 40s, died Monday in a blaze that was confined to the lounge room of their unit of a housing complex. The fire is being treated as non-suspicious, Acting Fire inspector Gary Coombes said.
The sisters achieved notoriety for telling their story of anorexia on the Australian version of the television program "60 Minutes" and on American television. With gaunt faces and thin bodies, Clare spoke of 38 stress fractures to her bones and the bone density of a 100-year-old. Rachel said, "We live to die. Everything's a struggle and there's no point," the Geelong Advertiser reported Tuesday.
They took comfort in knowing they would die together, the newspaper said, adding the sisters were regular visitors to Geelong court on charges of drug use, assault, theft, a 2010 charge of attempted murder when Rachel allegedly attempted to kill her sister, and most recently Saturday morning, when Rachel assaulted Clare.
When police arrived Saturday "they found Rachel Wallmeyer sitting on top of her sister with both hands around her neck. Both women were extremely intoxicated. Both are alcoholics and have an extremely volatile relationship," said Sgt. Peter Beard, Geelong police prosecutor, adding a charge of attempted murder would likely have been reduced to a lesser charge.
Their deaths in the fire Monday ended their long battle with anorexia, which, Rachel admitted, validated her painful life. "You take away anorexia and I am nothing. I don't even know who I am," she told the newspaper in 2004.