There are no hard answers, but at least some of the crackpot rumors have been shot down.
The toxicology report is out! The news spread through Facebook, blogs, emails, and perplexed phone calls to antique industry insiders like an Ebola virus. After an excruciating ten-week wait for the answer to the biggest mystery to ever hit the antique industry, all that is available is frustration and a few crackpot theories. On November 21, 1980 they answered the question “Who shot J.R.” but what killed Valerie Blackler remains a mystery. What are the odds that a top coroner can’t figure out the cause of a death? They get it right almost every time, especially in one of the world’s largest county’s with the most advanced scientific equipment at their disposal. In a case as bizarre as identical twins dying at the same time, they’d be pretty motivated to nail it. They couldn’t.
This only happens about once in every 3,000 cases.
You would have a better chance of winning the lottery than stumping a coroner. The nation’s top medical examiner, Mark A. Fajardo, with a $32 million budget came up empty. He’s clueless as to what killed Valerie, the Gynotwin who was found dead in her bed in February.
The red scarf of death
However, there is no question about how her sister, Diane, died: Suicide. She hanged herself using a red scarf. She was found kneeling, suspended in the garage from a piece of gym equipment, or possibly a clothes rack. The report says both. She was found wearing a purple long-sleeved shirt, blue bra, blue jeans, blue underwear, and two white socks. When Officer Jacobs found Diane, he described her using these morbid words: “…extensive insect activity noted on the decedent,” “the eyes are decomposed.”
The possible alternative plan that would have allowed them to die together
The officer also noted something curious about their vehicles. “A second motor vehicle, with both the driver’s and passenger’s seats reclined back was noted west of the first vehicle.” This was probably their Jeep with the Mickey Mouse spare tire cover and the California plate that said “TOYHNTR.” This suspicious scene suggests they had a “Plan B” for killing themselves together through asphyxiation by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage. In addition to the vehicle with reclined seats, the officer noted a disconnected hose in a trash bin along the west wall that could be connected to the tailpipe. As bizarre as the death of Diane appears to be, it’s nothing compared to the mysteries surrounding how 96-pound Valerie passed. In their shared bedroom on the second floor, the officer found her lying in bed on her back, with her arms crossed over her chest. Valerie was dressed similarly to Diane, but not exactly. Valerie was also wearing a purple long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, but her undergarments were different colors. Valerie’s bra was purple, not blue, her panties were tan while Diane’s were blue, and her socks were blue, not white. Although the report comes up completely empty for the cause of death—not drugs, not cancer, nor any physical trauma, there are three substantial clues that may provide the answer. Possible life altering disease There is circumstantial and medical evidence that give reason to believe that Valerie was in the early stages of a life altering disease. Supporting that was literature on multiple sclerosis found on the kitchen counter, and the coroner’s autopsy report stated in the systemic and organ review that “there is mild thoracic scoliosis and focal cervical vertebrae osteophytes.” Serious, but not fatal Thoracic Scoliosis is serious, but not a fatal curvature of the spine, and cervical vertebrae osteophytes, which produces agonizing bone spurs in the neck. Although the coroner called it “mild,” it is possible that she was enduring a great deal of pain or expected to be faced with life-long debilitating pain. Medical insight Because of the Twins detailed knowledge as veteran nurse practitioners, they were in a position to know what these symptoms may lead to. In the case of the curvature of the spine, it could have led to painful breathing. If physical therapy didn’t do the trick, Valerie may have been forced to wear a cumbersome and embarrassing brace for long hours. If that didn’t work, dangerous spinal surgery was next. Cervical bone spurs can accompany spinal deformity. Valerie may have already been suffering from neck pain and stiffness, radiating pain into the shoulders and arms, and even numbness in the arms and hands. Because the twins, who were even cheerleaders in high school, were examples of near physical perfection, the idea of becoming crippled may have been intolerable. The worst rumors shot down Although the report does not answer the most important question, it puts to rest a host of ugly rumors spreading throughout the biz.
First of all, they had been accused of being hoarders. This calls to mind people who live in utter filth with old pizza boxes and newspapers stacked up to the ceiling. According to the coroner’s report in multiple sightings, “the home was clean and well-furnished…” As we would expect, the house was filled with thousands of dolls and teddy bears and other collecting trophies “arranged neatly” on almost every available surface. This would be consistent with the fact that they were super anal-retentive nurse practitioners who took great pride in their pristine appearance, as well.
More evidence Kevin Lyman said he met the twins 28 years ago when he installed a security system in their home and remained friends with the women. Lyman said the house was filled “floor to ceiling” with dolls and other antiques, but the rooms were always clean and neatly arranged.
“They weren’t hoarders, they were collectors. Everything had its place,” Lyman told reporter Kelly Puente of the Long Beach Register. Lyman’s statement cleary contradicts a widely circulated, dark and grainy photograph that purportedly shows the inside of the Twins’ living room.
Instead of neat showcases it looks like a riotous teddy bear and doll convention from a Stephen King nightmare. It’s so dense with stuffed toys that it would be impossible for the coroner to have stated that the furniture was nice and the house was clean. Because the legitimacy of this photo is in dispute, Collector magazine is not lending credence to this noxious image by printing it.
Another nasty rumor that the coroner’s report shoots down makes the Twins seem unjustifiably weird. Supposedly, according to phantom detectives investigating the case, the eyes of all of their dolls were scratched out with knives and black markers. There is no evidence of this. There was zero mention of this demonic ceremony in the otherwise thorough report. The last one, while seemingly more benign, is actually the most malicious because it makes it appear as if it was a “ritualistic” suicide. Supposedly, when Valerie was found in her bed, it was covered in a shrine of mourning teddy bears and dolls, as if they were weeping over her death. Considering that the coroner mentions a myriad of other details of the house, down to the miscellaneous boxes in the garage, he certainly wouldn’t have missed a funeral scene of stuffed animals surrounding her.
Ever since this horrible tragedy happened several months ago, there have been bucket loads of rumors about the deaths. However, most of these theorists are neglecting to take into account one very important fact. The Gynotwins took a 30-day leave of absence from their job starting on January 1st to take care of a supposedly sick uncle who has never surfaced. This furlough implies premeditation. It virtually rules out the possibility of murder or accidental death. That would be just too coincidental for it to have happened during those 30 days. n It looks planned. However, there are no theories that make sense.
Even if Valerie had all the motivation in the world to kill herself, the coroner, the biz, and even Collector magazine doesn’t know how she did it. Read the reports yourself: collectornetwork.net/valerie.pdf, and collectornetwork.net/diane.pdf.