Annetta Coffman has watched neighbor after neighbor get cancer. Five years ago, her son, Dalton Kincaid (left), was diagnosed, too. Photo by Matt Eich.
In a narrow shadow of land between two steep mountainsides in West Virginia, residents of a town called Minden are dying. Not in that existential “we’re all dying a little bit every day” way, but in the blotchy-lesions-and-tumor-riddled-organs-that-eventually-stop-working way.
The 250 residents are all that’s left of a community that peaked at about 1,200 in 1970, and they think they know what’s picking them off one by one, in a relentless, who’s-next roulette. They can’t avoid it in their homes. Or in their backyards. Or on the grounds of the abandoned factory where kids ride their dirt bikes. Locals have taken to calling Minden’s main road “Death Valley Drive.”