Twin sisters who gained fame after receiving a pioneering surgery for obsessive-compulsive disorder were found dead with gunshot wounds on a Colorado roadside.
Amanda and Sara Eldritch, 33, were found Friday in a vehicle parked near a rest area outside Cañon City, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday.
The sisters, who lived in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, were the first people in Colorado to receive deep brain stimulation to treat their often-debilitating symptoms of OCD. Their story was told last year on “The Doctors,” a daytime talk show that focuses on medical issues.
The sheriff’s office said in a news release that no other information on the women’s deaths is available at this time.
The rest area where they were found is near Royal Gorge, a tourist attraction that features a high pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River Canyon. It’s about a three-hour drive from the Eldritches’ home.
A year after the 2015 surgery at Littleton Adventist Hospital, the twins said they began to feel at peace with their existence. In a hospital publication, Sara Eldritch was quoted as saying, “I feel like I can identify my anxiety. I can actually see where it’s coming from. And I feel like I can deal with it.”
But before the surgery, the article said, “they felt at war with their own existence. And in a desperate cry for help as adolescents, they tried taking their own lives.”
For the sisters, coping with the disorder meant 10-hour showers, 20-minute hand-washings and using dozens of bottles of rubbing alcohol to disinfect everything they touched.
The deep brain stimulation was intended to inhibit overactive parts of the brain, halting anxiety and making therapy more effective. As part of the procedure, surgeon David VanSickle placed electrodes on specific areas of their brains, with electrode wires under the skin of the head, neck and shoulders.
One year after the surgery, the spring 2016 publication said, the twins began finding “hope and joy in simple things like taking a morning walk — something they hadn’t done in more than a decade.”
When they went on “The Doctors” last year, they had a rare day apart and spent the night in separate hotels to “help them break through their codependency,” the show’s website said.
“I did kind of like the contrast of, this is what it’s like to be alone, and this is what it’s like to be back with my sister and friends,” Amanda Eldritch said at the time. “I like having two things to compare.”