07/16/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan
St. Simons Island, GA—An elderly couple was found dead after they became trapped inside their in-home elevator. Police believe the couple had been inside the elevator for at least four days before their bodies were discovered Wednesday, July 14, 2010, according to information provided by the Associated Press.
Sherwood and Caroline Wadsworth, both of Pennsylvania, had vacationed on the Georgia coast for the majority of their lives together. They were a couple more than 60 years and described by their son’s wife, Maureen Wadsworth, as “great people, fun people.”
At some point last week, however, the couple’s in-house elevator malfunctioned between the home’s second and third floors. Given that there was no phone in the elevator, the couple was left without a means of calling for help.
Police were notified of their absence when a newspaper carrier called 911, reporting that papers had suspiciously piled up next to their garage.
Neighbor Phoebe Hoaster also noticed the growing stack of unread newspapers, noting that she had left a watermelon on their doorstep, which went unnoticed. “I thought, ‘Well, it’s hot and maybe they’re just not getting out.”
Authorities were forced to break into the home, where upon entry, they found no one. Nonetheless, they eventually noticed the elevator and sprung into action to open the shaft. It was then that they discovered the Wadsworths’ bodies, which were facing each other in the fetal position.
Autopsies performed on Thursday indicated the couple died of heat exhaustion. Glynn County coroner Jimmy Durden estimated the temperatures inside the elevator likely reached 95 degrees.
Police, as well as inspectors from Georgia’s Department of Labor, are expected to conduct a full investigation into the tragic incident and whether the elevator was licensed upon installation.
According to the Wadsworths’ son, Wesley Wadsworth, the couple had expressed concern over mechanical issues with the residential elevator in April and May.
“We always said we hoped they would go together because if one went, the other wouldn’t survive long… They were so dependent on each other,” Wesley Wadsworth added.
Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers.
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