Erin Moran's Neighbors Say She Was 'Full of Energy' Before She Died in Her Mother-in-Law's Trailer
Sheriff’s deputies and EMTs arrived at Erin Moran's trailer after 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a coroner’s van, several neighbors said
Neighbors of Erin Moran, the actress best known for her work in the sitcoms Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, remembered her as a friendly member of their mobile home community following her shocking death on Saturday. However, they also say she became more reclusive in recent months.
Officers in Harrison County in Indiana responded to reports of an unresponsive female in Corydon, Indiana, on Saturday afternoon. First responders determined that the woman, identified as Moran, had deceased, PEOPLE has confirmed (the news was first reported by TMZ). An autopsy is pending.
According to neighbors, the actress died in the weathered, gray trailer she shared with her second husband, Walmart employee Steve Fleischmann, and mother-in-law in rural New Salisbury, Indiana. The trailer park is somewhat run-down but clean and quiet.
“She was kind of hyper, full of energy,” neighbor Arthur Myers, 81, tells PEOPLE. “She’d walk like she was getting exercise. Always in street clothes. She was always friendly and waved, but I never talked to her at length.”
However, in recent months, Moran didn’t venture out very often.
“I used to see her all the time, walking up to get the mail or just out for a stroll,” says neighbor David Holt, 61. “She always waved or stopped to say hello. But I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months. She kind of hibernated at the end. It’s so sad. She was a good person.”
Although Holt said the actress still yearned to return to Hollywood, she was very down to earth.
“I recognized her when she moved in around 2011,” he says. “I said, ‘Weren’t you on Happy Days?’ and she said, ‘Yeah,’ in a way I could tell she missed it. She used to tell me how they were one big family, and talk about the possibility of a reunion coming up.”
“She didn’t have an attitude, or let on that she felt she didn’t belong here,” Holt continues. “It was just, ‘You’re on top one day, and then you’re on the bottom.’ But I do think she was still hopeful.”
Neighbor Jerry Benet, 53, said he once got the courage to tell her he was a fan. “I said, ‘I used to watch your show all the time when I was a kid.’ And she smiled and changed the subject like it was too much to talk about.”
Sheriff’s deputies and EMTs arrived at Moran-Fleischmann’s trailer after 4 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a coroner’s van, several neighbors said. Authorities would not publicly confirm where Moran was found when she died.
“I had a sinking feeling it was Erin,” says Holt.
Moran, best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, married Fleischmann in 1993. The couple moved into Fleischmann’s mother’s trailer in Indiana so Moran could act as her caregiver, her publicist confirmed to ABC News in June 2012. Before they moved to Indiana, TMZ reported that Moran’s Palmdale, California, home had been foreclosed on.
Moran also appeared on The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote and The Bold and the Beautiful.