Youths walking find a body and ask a neighbor to call police.

AUBURN – An elderly woman who lived her entire life in Danville was found dead Wednesday, lying on train tracks several feet from her house.

Police say Joyce Girardin, 70, died after she was struck by a passing freight train.

Four youths, including two sisters who live in the neighborhood, spotted the body while walking by the tracks.

The two girls and two boys had been roaming the area for about a half-hour when they decided to turn around so that sisters Kim Jarvis and Laura Billings could get home in time to do their chores.

Jarvis, 12, noticed the body first and screamed, “Look!” Her friend J.T. Larrasey ran over to take a look.

“It is a picture that will be in my head for a long time,” said Larrasey, a freshman at Edward Little High School.

The four youngsters ran to a home on Dunlap Street and asked the owner to call police, who arrived at about noon. After the call was made, Jarvis and Billings started crying.

“It is so sad that someone is dead right there,” said 15-year-old Billings. “This is going to be with us for the rest of our lives.”

Girardin’s neighbors and friends said that she had been upset about her husband’s recent diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease and the decision to put him in a nursing home.

“I had heard that she wasn’t eating or taking care of herself,” said Dave Harris, who has lived in the Auburn neighborhood for eight years.

Girardin lived in Danville since she was child and she used to love showing people her photographs of the neighborhood from years ago when it was a busy little town, Harris recalled.

According to Harris and others who came out of their homes to see what happened, Girardin worked at Kmart for many years before retiring to care for her husband.

“She’s been here forever,” Harris said. “Everyone knew her.”

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