Ray Tomlinson's girlfriend died on a road trip from Arizona to Michigan. Believing he had 48 hours before he was legally required to report her death, he drove her decomposing corpse, along with his 93-year-old mother, the rest of the way home. He didn't take her body to the hospital, he told the Detroit Free Press, because he "cared too much for her."
Tomlinson, 62, told police that he believes that the woman, whose name has yet to be released because her family has still not been informed of her death, died somewhere in Oklahoma or Texas. More from the Detroit Free Press:
Police, who did not release Tomlinson's name, said the driver told them he was in a rural, area early Monday morning when the woman slumped forward and was cold to the touch.
"He then does an Internet search via his phone," Warren Police Detective Sgt. Stephen Mills said. "He says he finds on the Internet that he has 48 hours to take her to a medical examiner or to a morgue."
Tomlinson said he broke no law. He said he worried that if he stopped, authorities "would have impounded my vehicle, they would have probably incarcerated me to do an investigation and I had a 93-year-old woman in my car that I needed to get home."
According to Tomlinson, he first met his girlfriend, 31, when she was homeless. He said that she had a history of drug problems and that their relationship began after he took her in and helped her receive treatment. Police suspect that the woman may have died of a drug overdose and that an autopsy does not show signs of foul play:
Before the trip back to Michigan, the woman signed herself out of a medical facility on May 28, according to police. That same day, she had several prescriptions filled, including one for 30 OxyContin, police said.
The bottle was empty when she arrived in Michigan.
Police were first made aware of Tomlinson driving his girlfriend's dead body cross-country when an employee from the facility she had previously checked out of called to schedule a follow-up appointment in Michigan. Tomlinson told the employee what had happened. "I just drove and drove, and I knew I'd be in some kind of trouble," Tomlinson told WDIV.
A solemn final note from the Detroit Free Press:
The woman was found in the passenger seat of the vehicle with her seat belt fastened. She wore a blue tie-dyed tank top and sunglasses, a blanket covered her lap and investigators found a trimmed-off straw in her pocket.
“I just lost a very close friend ,” Tomlinson said.
When asked if he would have done things differently, he said, “Yes.”