Update: Actress Alicia Witt has written of her parents' deaths on Facebook, in a post that begins, "It still doesn't feel real. It’s been a month since i got scared, not having heard back from them, and called to have them checked on. ... Knowing as soon as i heard the detective’s voice on the other line that they were gone." She notes that the press has speculated on the cause, and while she doesn't get into specifics, she explains at length that her parents wouldn't let her or any repair workers into their home, and that she helped them as much as she could "short of petitioning the court system for taking control of two otherwise very sharp, very independent, very capable adults. ...I had no idea that their heat had gone out. I will never understand how or why they made the choice not to tell me this, not to let me help them with this. My heart is broken." Our original story from Dec. 22 follows:
Actress Alicia Witt says she is devastated by the death of her parents, who were found dead in their Worcester, Massachusetts home Monday night. Witt says she became concerned after she didn't hear from them for a few days. "I reached out to a cousin who lives close to my parents to check on them. Sadly, the outcome was unimaginable,” she said in a statement, per the AP. "I ask for some privacy at this time to grieve and to wrap my head around this turn of events, and this surreal loss." Police say there is no sign of foul play in the deaths of Robert Witt, 87, and Diane Witt, 75, though the cause of death is unclear and autopsies are scheduled.
Police said there had been reports the couple were using a space heater after experiencing furnace problems, but firefighters did not detect carbon monoxide, the Telegram & Gazette reports. A neighbor told the paper that she rarely saw the couple outside their home, which had fallen into disrepair, and she believes they had been ill for some time. Witt, 46, became a child star at seven years old when she was cast in the original Dune. She has also appeared in shows including Twin Peaks, Justified, and Orange Is the New Black. The Telegram & Gazette reports that Diane Witt was a different kind of celebrity in the '80s and '90s, when she got into the Guinness Book of World Records with hair more than 10 feet long. In 1988, the couple described their hair care routine to UPI and said they had even used the hair to go fishing. (Read more Massachusetts stories.)