ANDES, N.Y. — An elderly Manhattan couple whose car became stuck near their wooded Catskills vacation home died after nine fruitless attempts to make a cellphone call for help and after the woman searched in vain for a neighbor.
Arthur Morris, 88, slid their car down an embankment 60 feet from their vacation home on May 3 in Andes, about 115 miles northwest of New York City, according to state police and relatives.
Family members told the New York Daily News that Morris tried to get out but became wedged between the tilted car and the ground and was asphyxiated. His wife, 89-year-old Madeleine, walked with her cane to an empty neighbor’s house and died of exposure after a rainy night under a tarp.
“She walked a quarter-mile to the neighbor’s house and there was no one there,” said grandson Jeantet Fields. “It was a vacation house and they had left the day before.”
Cell service is spotty in the rural area and calls made by the couple to 911, their son and a neighbor did not go through.
Hunters found the husband’s body the next day and searchers soon after found the wife’s body on a neighbor’s patio, according to police.
Arthur was a Juilliard-educated music teacher who had heart disease and a hernia. Madeleine was a retired professor who survived the Nazi occupation in France and had two knee replacements, the Daily News reported.
“What really has me choked up the most is the circumstances they died in,” Fields said. “Given the lives they lived, they should have had a better way out than that.”