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Twin sisters who appeared on '50s TV found dead; survivors sought

March 6, 2012 |  1:03 pm

Patricia and Joan MillerIn their early lives, Patricia and Joan Miller were entertainers who appeared on TV and did live shows, singing and dancing while their mother played piano.

But in their last decades the twin sisters became recluses, isolated in their home in South Lake Tahoe, sheriff’s officials said. It's likely they were dead for several weeks before their bodies were found late last month.

And now, detectives are struggling to find a family member to notify about the deaths.

Volunteers doing a welfare check arrived at the Millers’ home Feb. 25 but their knocks were unanswered, said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Det. Matt Harwood. 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. They were 73 years old.

Since then, detectives have combed through pictures and documents trying to find a relative to notify. They found a photo of the twins as young girls sitting on Bing Crosby’s lap and another of the pair in tap shoes.

Detectives learned that 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.

There are rumors of a brother who lives in the Bay Area and of extended family in Portland, Ore., where the twins were born, but detectives have yet to confirm it, Harwood said. 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.”

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-- 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

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