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Authorities investigating death of Forest Hills sisters

A member of the NYPD's Crime Scene Unit heads into the building where the women were found dead. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Two elderly sisters, who neighbors warmly remembered as good-natured world travelers, were found dead in their Forest Hills apartment last week.

Police are investigating the deaths of Ilene Roth, 79, and Leah Roth, 88, after the pair was found on the floor of their apartment by their building’s superintendent at The Continental, at 70-20 108th St., Oct. 3. Officials said the superintendent was called to the apartment because the tenant below complained about a leak and a foul odor. Cops said when he entered the apartment, he found the sisters on the floor.

There was no sign of trauma or forced entry, according to the police, and the medical examiner is currently determining the cause of death.

A woman who lives in the building described the women as inseparable and nearly identical in appearance, despite the nine-year age difference. The resident said the Roth sisters could have been mistaken for twins.

A doorman at the building said he was aware of the deaths, but could not comment.

One woman, who commented identified herself as Dawn from Forest Hills on TimesLedger Newspapers’ website, said the sisters lived in The Continental for more than 30 years and that Ilene wrote advertising copy and jingles for large ad agencies in the city.

“They were witty and warm and kind to children, though never had children or married themselves,” said the woman. “I for one will miss them, and while here they are merely a story of two bodies found dead in an apartment, to me they will always be just as lovely as they were.”

Another person, who identified himself as Dan from Durham, N.C. on the TimesLedger’s site and said the sisters were his mother’s cousins, wrote that Ilene and Leah were good friends with guitar legend Les Paul.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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