Twin sisters charged after suicide try

Two 55-year-old twin sisters were charged with risking a catastrophe after trying to use gas from a stove to kill themselves in an apartment building, according to Upper Darby police.

"It's sad. Hopefully, they get the help they need," said Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, adding it was "a difficult decision" to charge the women late last week.

On May 24, at the Highland Park Apartments on Park Avenue, resident Joanne Gladstone and sister Janet McGinnis, of Drexel Hill, wrote out suicide notes, including cremation instructions, then turned on all the stovetop burners, Chitwood said.

"They were ready to end it all. They were laying on the floor on pillows when police walked in," he said.

A citizen who smelled gas called the Fire Department, and a fire captain, after noticing a gas meter showed a high rate of use, called police.

The women were hospitalized, then transferred to the crisis unit at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital for about a week, Chitwood said.

After being released, the women were charged with recklessly endangering others and risking a catastrophe, both misdemeanors, he said.

"They could have blown up the whole building," with more than a half-dozen other people inside, he said.

"It could have been more tragic than initially their intention was."

The women were remorseful, and they have no criminal records, he said.

Under the terms of bail, the women must remain under a doctor's supervision, Chitwood said.

 


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.