Death of twin sisters who appeared on '50s TV sparks mystery
Detectives in El Dorado County have received calls from around the country offering help to find relatives of twin sisters who appeared in TV shows in the '50s and were found dead last month.
Sheriff’s officials have been struggling to find a family member to notify about the deaths of Patricia and Joan Miller, who at one time were entertainers.
In their last decades, the sisters were recluses, isolated in their Lake Tahoe home, sheriff’s officials said. It's likely they were dead for several weeks before their bodies were found.
Detectives hoped that publicizing the case would lead them to a relative, and many have taken an interest in helping them solve the mystery, including one woman from Texas who offered to help trace their genealogy, said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Det. Matt Harwood.
The 73-year-old twins were found after volunteers arrived at their home for a welfare check Feb. 25 and did not get an answer to their knocks. Deputies later entered the home and found the sisters' bodies, one in her bedroom, the other in a hallway just outside. The cause of death has not been determined, but foul play has been ruled out.
Detectives learned they appeared regularly on a weekly television show, "The Hoffman Hayride," in the 1950s and that they entertained troops at several military bases. But they’ve found almost nothing about the twins' family.
The sisters always listed each other as next of kin, Harwood said. Detectives believe their parents died some time ago. They’ve come to believe that neither sister ever married and that they were dependent on each other their entire lives.
“I think they need to have some family know that they’re gone,” Harwood said. "I think they deserve that.”
Anyone with information about the twins is asked to contact Harwood at (530) 573-3015.
-- Paloma Esquivel
Photo: An undated photo provided by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department shows twin sisters Patricia and Joan Miller. It is unknown which sister is which. Credit: El Dorado County Sheriff's Department