Extreme cold may have been a factor in elderly sisters' deaths

Police: 'Foul play was not involved'

EastBayRI.com ·

Barrington police believe extreme cold temperatures may have played a role in the deaths of twin elderly sisters early Saturday morning, March 4.

In a press release on Sunday, police stated that 97-year-old Jean Haley, of 21 Opechee Drive, and her twin sister, Martha Williams of East Providence, were found laying face down outside the home at 21 Opechee Drive. A neighbor spotted one of the women at about 8 a.m. and called 911.

Both women were immediately transported to Rhode Island Hospital but later died. 

Police said an investigation revealed that Jean and Martha's younger sister — an unidentified 89-year-old Barrington resident — had accompanied the women for dinner on Friday night. All three returned back to the Opechee Drive residence at about 8:30 p.m.

The younger sister then drove home.

"At this time investigators believe that foul play was not involved and Ms. Williams may have fallen in the driveway walking to her car," stated the press release. "Ms. Haley may have tripped on a rug on the floor of the garage as she attempted to enter her house to call for assistance."

The women reportedly remained outdoors all night, as temperatures dipped well-below freezing. 

“On behalf of the men and women of the Barrington Police Department, our deepest sympathies and condolences are extended to the Haley and William’s families during their tragic loss, said Barrington Police Chief John M. LaCross.

Ms. Williams was a longtime resident of Barrington before moving to East Providence.

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