'Walking Dead' actor Alicia Witt breaks silence on parents' sudden deaths: 'Doesn't feel real'

·5 min read
Alicia Witt is opening up about losing her parents one month after they were found dead in their home in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Alicia Witt is opening up about losing her parents one month after they were found dead in their home in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The "Orange Is the New Black" and "The Walking Dead" alum, 46, penned an emotional tribute to her parents, Robert, 87, and Diane Witt, 75, on Facebook Tuesday, remembering them as "brilliant educators, deeply kind, curious, intuitive, wise, young at heart (and) funny."

"it still doesn’t feel real," she wrote. "our last words to each other were ‘i love you’. that part was simple; never in doubt. they loved me so. i loved them so."

Witt described how she became scared after not hearing back from her parents, so she called to have someone check on them. Though she wrote that she was "praying fervently that the next call would be from them," she knew when she "heard the detective’s voice on the other line that they were gone."

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Though Witt did not reveal her parents' cause of death, she noted their "sudden passings have become fodder for press, and there are some misconceptions rolling around."

"this is very delicate for me to write because i’m wanting to honor their privacy, which they held so tightly," she continued. "i never imagined i would have to talk about this publicly - much less, amidst overwhelming floods of grief."

Witt went on to describe how she wasn't allowed inside her parents' home for over a decade and that every time she tried to have something repaired for them, her parents refused to let workers enter the house.

"i begged, cried, tried to reason with them, tried to convince them to let me help them move - but every time, they became furious with me, telling me i had no right to tell them how to live their lives," she wrote. "it was not for a lack of trying on my part."

She continued: "i struggle, as much as i helped, with what else could i have done - short of petitioning the court system for taking control of two otherwise very sharp, very independent, very capable adults. they were a united, intertwined, indivisible force, determined to do things their own way. knowing they had each other - battling them the way i would have had to in order to do this truly felt like it would have destroyed them."

The couple were discovered after a relative asked police to accompany him on a wellness check at around 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 20. The previous night was the coldest of the month, with temperatures bottoming out at 15 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

"i had no idea that their heat had gone out," Witt wrote. "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. and even if i could have had a crystal ball and looked into the future- if i could have said to them ‘you are going to break my heart and the hearts of all who love you with a worst-case-scenario ending if you don’t let us help you’ - i still think they would have made the same choices."

Alicia Witt is opening up about losing her parents one month after they were found dead in their home in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Alicia Witt is opening up about losing her parents one month after they were found dead in their home in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Witt said she attended a "beautiful service and burial" for her parents in Worcester earlier this month, where she was able "to mourn and to celebrate them in total privacy."

Neighbors said the couple were somewhat reclusive; rarely did they turn on lights or come outside, and knocks at the door often went unanswered. They had no cable television or computer, court records show.

Robert Witt, a former teacher, was diagnosed with cancer and confined to the couple's home at the recommendation of his doctor because of the risk of COVID-19, according to court documents.

Court documents indicate Diane Witt may have had health problems related to damage to their home from the ice storm of Dec. 12, 2008. Records show that Diane said she suffered "severe problems with (her) breathing, with sleeping, congestion and nosebleeds," along with "difficulty with her memory (and) with communication" because of mold and fiberglass exposure.

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A dispatcher told the responding officers that a relative loaned the couple a space heater because their furnace stopped working a week earlier. The officers were also told the couple had "compromised immune systems."

Firefighters tested the air quality inside the home and found no noxious gases, but that was after other emergency personnel had been in and out, opening doors, which could have caused any existing gas to dissipate, an official said.

Space heaters can pose dangers, Deputy Fire Chief Adam Roche said. Heaters that use fossil fuels such as propane must be vented to the outside to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can be deadly.

A neighbor said the furnace had been broken for far more than a week, recalling that in 2018, when the heating system was faulty, the couple declined the neighbor's offer to fix it.

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In a court case filed in 2011, the couple alleged that Hanover Insurance did not adequately cover the damages to their home, though documents show that the insurance company paid out more than $110,000.

However, Hanover's lawyer wrote in 2017, "Apart from certain rudimentary repairs, the plaintiffs have made no effort to repair or replace the damage to their home, and it remains in a state of disrepair to this date."

Another neighbor talked about how proud the Witts were of Alicia, boasting about her accomplishments and looking forward to her visits. Alicia Witt has appeared in movies and TV shows such as "The Walking Dead," "Twin Peaks," "Orange is the New Black," "Dune," and "The Sopranos."

Robert and Diane's cause and manner of death have not yet been released.

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Contributing: Kim Ring, Telegram & Gazette

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alicia Witt of 'Walking Dead' breaks silence on parents' sudden deaths