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Police: Three Women Starved Themselves To Death

December 3, 1992

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ Three women with a history of mental illness who rarely left their home starved themselves to death, authorities said.

Muskingum County Coroner E.J. Booth said Wednesday that Twila W. Pollard, 77; her sister, Thelma G. Baker, 71; and Mrs. Baker’s daughter, Rhonda Sue Borton, 43, died of starvation.

Booth said Ms. Pollard had been dead about six weeks, while Ms. Baker and Ms. Borton had been dead about a month. The women’s remains were found Tuesday after a neighbor who hadn’t seen them in a while called authorities.

Neighbors said the three seldom left the house and became even more reclusive after Ms. Borton’s daughter, now 10, was taken away by court order in 1989, police Detective Joyce Vaughan said.

″The opinion of everyone around was when that happened, everything went downhill from there,″ Ms. Vaughan said.

Bill Anderson, executive director of Muskingum County Children Services, said the agency intervened because Ms. Borton refused to get medical help for the child, who needed open heart surgery. The girl was almost never allowed out of the house.

All three women were known to suffer from mental illness and appeared to be depressed and morose, Anderson said. They left no suicide notes.

″It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t any food in the house - it was cleaned out,″ Ms. Vaughan said.

She said the women had enough money to buy food. Ms. Borton got Social Security and Ms. Pollard’s bank book indicated she also had money.

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