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Petersburg brothers who froze to death had always been inseparable, nephew says

Obie and Roy Fugate
Posted at 12:38 AM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 00:38:41-05

PETERSBURG, Ky. — Roy and Obie Fugate, two among seven siblings, spent their lives together. They lived in what their nephew called “the hollers” outside Petersburg, where they worked on nearby farms during the week and went dancing on weekends.

On Jan. 29, as wind and the encroachment of a polar vortex pushed temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit, their truck became stuck in mud about a half-mile from their home. They got out and attempted to walk the rest of the way there.

Neither made it inside.

“They'd been together all their lives, never been apart,” nephew Ted Fugate said Monday. "When Obie passed away and Roy was trying to get him help, I think God went ahead and took him on home because he wasn't going to leave him down here heartbroken."

Obie, 72, was found dead on the driveway. Roy, 67, died on the porch. A news release from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office said both men were likely victims of hypothermia.

"People messaged me that I've never met in my life,” Fugate said of the days since their deaths. “They might have been back in the woods … but there's so many people who knew them and thought a lot about them.

He doesn’t like to think of their last moments in the cold, he added. He prefers to think they’ve gone somewhere better.

"Their other brother Oak passed away a few years ago,” he said. “They're looking down, saying, ‘We're all three back together again.' …You go up there on that hill and in a hot, summer day and there they are sitting there underneath the shade tree. And they're just smiling. Can't wait to get up there and start talking."