A month has passed since Hallmark star Alicia Witt’s parents were found dead in their Worcester, Massachusetts home. On Tuesday, the actress posted an emotional message on social media in which she said she had tried to help her parents before their death and that she was speaking out because the tragedy had become “fodder” for the press.
“My parents were not penniless,” she wrote. “They were fiercely stubborn, beautifully original souls, and with that, they made choices — choices that I couldn’t talk them out of. I did help them, in all the ways I could — in all the ways they would let me.”
No official cause of death has been released to the public. According to local police, Robert, 87, and Diane, 75, Witt were discovered in their home on December 20, 2021. There were no signs of trauma. Police said it appeared that the couple had been living without a working furnace. The night before, the temperature had dipped to 15 degrees.
Witt, who lives in Nashville, became concerned when she couldn’t reach her parents and asked a cousin who lived nearby to check on them.
“Sadly, the outcome was unimaginable,” Witt wrote in a December statement.
On Alicia’s social media posts, Witt said she was unaware that her parents didn’t have heat.
“I had no idea that their heat had gone out,” she wrote. “I will never understand how or why they made the choice not to tell me this, not to let me help them with this. My heart is broken.”
According to reports in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Robert Witt was recently diagnosed with cancer. Because treatments left his immune system compromised, he was largely housebound throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
A neighbor described the couple as close and happy.
“Any time I spent around them, they were like one person,” the neighbor told the local paper. “One soul.”
Witt said her parents were private people and said she felt the irony in divulging details about them in the wake of their death.
“I never imagined I would have to talk about this publicly — much less, amidst overwhelming floods of grief,” she wrote.
The actress said she had not been inside her parents’ home for more than a decade. According to court documents, the house had been damaged in a 2008 ice storm. Witt said that they turned her down when she offered to help them with their home.
“I begged, cried, tried to reason with them, tried to convince them to let me help them move — but every time, they became furious with me, telling me I had no right to tell them how to live their lives and that they had it all under control,” she wrote. “It was not for a lack of trying on my part, or the part of other people who loved them.”
According to neighbors, Robert and Dianne Witt were proud of Alicia and her brother, Ian.
Witt is an actress, musician, and published author. Her first role onscreen was in David Lynch’s 1984 film Dune, and she appeared in Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, Orange is the New Black, and The Walking Dead.
She also made several movies for the Hallmark Channel, including Christmas Tree Lane, A Very Merry Mix-Up, and The Mistletoe Inn.
In her statement, Witt said the most important thing remains that she and her parents loved each other deeply.
“Our last words to each other were ‘I love you,’” Witt wrote. “That part was simple; never in doubt. They loved me so. I loved them so.”