Twin sisters with chronic OCD found dead after suspected suicide pact

By on
candle
Photograph of a candle. Wikimedia Commons

Identical twin sisters who had appeared on television to discuss their chronic cleanliness compulsion OCD were both found lifeless in a car. The deaths are being viewed as a possible suicide pact.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office reported that the bodies of Sara and Amanda Eldritch were recovered in a vehicle parked near the Royal Gorge Bridge, a tourist site in Canon City, Colorado. A sheriff's spokeswoman said the twin sisters appeared to have died in a suicide pact. Detectives are performing further investigations into the incident.

As teens, the sisters from Broomfield, Colorado were diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2015, they received deep brain stimulation surgery intended to control compulsions.

They appeared last year on an episode of “The Doctors” where they talked about their co-dependency and fears at the possibility of separation. They would use several bottles of rubbing alcohol and hand cleanser and wore latex gloves. The sisters had tried medication, counselling and therapy.

The sisters also shared their habits of tucking in their shirts, washing their hands several times and wearing socks without wrinkles as toddlers. Their obsession with cleanliness worsened as they reached teenage years. They could, for instance, go through a bottle of shampoo in just one shower session. News.com.au notes that at times they did not bathe for up to two weeks due to anxiety about long showers. Washing and cleaning rituals are the widely recognised symptom of OCD.

Neurosurgeon David VanSickle performed the deep brain stimulation surgery on the Eldritch sisters. Electrode wires were placed on areas of their brain, and battery packs were connected to their chests to inhibit the part of the brain that was overactive. The procedure was hoped to be achieved by regulating the amount of stimulation and suppressing anxiety.

A year after the surgery, the twins’ mental health had reportedly improved. They were “finding hope and joy in simple things.”

A GoFundMe page for their mother described them as "creative, artistic, intelligent, compassionate, kind and generous" people. As animal lovers, they had three dogs.

Littleton Adventist Hospital took to Facebook to share that their hearts are heavy with the passing of the Eldritch sisters. They were described as courageous, inspiring women who shared their story in hopes that it might help others.

The Doctors/YouTube