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Rowena Shaddox has the story of a new report suggesting that the mother of two disabled sons may have been under the influence at the time of their deaths.


The Calaveras County Coroner’s Office believes that identical twins Ryan and Joshua Hall, who depended on ventilators to breathe, may have died from asphyxiation.

“It could be medical … possible homicide. It can go in any direction. We’re just not far along at this point and time to make any good determinations,” said Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz.

The power shut off in the neighborhood where the 22-year-olds lived with their mother, Julia.

The sheriff’s department continues to investigate if the power outage contributed to their deaths – and why a backup system to the ventilators failed.

“It appears they’ve been on the life support system since they were two years old,” Kuntz said.

The young men’s stepdad for the past 13 years told FOX40 that, when the electricity went out in the area on Tuesday, their mother – who was also their full-time caregiver – thought her sons were merely sleeping.

But, after checking on them a half-hour later, she realized they weren’t breathing and dialed 911. CPR failed to revive them.

“It’s sad because a lot of people in the Valley Springs area community knew these two boys and knew the mother,” Kuntz said.

The stepdad also said the young men recently moved from a full-time care facility in Elk Grove to their mom’s Valley Springs home. No full-time nurses were assigned to help at the home.

Ryan and Joshua’s family hoped to get the two back into full-time care, with help from insurance.

The stepdad said Julia did the best she could.

“We’re not ruling anything out. The mother’s been very cooperative with us,” Kuntz said.


Neighbor Steven St. Sure shares what he saw Tuesday, when a mass outage left his block without electricity for hours.

“I was watching TV, trying to get something on demand. All of a sudden the power went off,” St. Sure said.

Shortly after that, his neighbor Julia Hall called 911 for her twin sons, Ryan and Joshua, who were connected to breathing ventilators for life support. They suffered from muscular dystrophy.

Deputies arrived to find the 22-year-old brothers in distress and immediately started CPR. But the young men didn’t make it.

Sheriff detectives are now investigating if the power outage contributed to their deaths.

Sheriff Gary Kuntz said they’re also looking at a number of possibilities, including why the backup system to the ventilators failed.