Michigan man drives cross-country with corpse in passenger seat

Gruesome road trip: Clinton Township man drives cross-country with a dead woman in passenger seat

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WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) - A very strange story is unfolding as police in Warren release details about how a Clinton Township man drove a deceased woman across the country from Arizona to Michigan.

WJBK Fox 2's Roop Raj reports a 62-year-old man drove from Michigan to Arizona to pick up a 31-year-old woman, with whom he was in a relationship. The man picked the woman up on May 31 from the mental health facility where she resided in Glendale, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix.

FOX 2's Maurielle Lue reports the man has been identified as Ray Tomlinson.

Police believe the woman ingested a number of oxycodone pills after stopping at a gas station in Flagstaff, Ariz. June 1. Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green says she returned to the van and died almost immediately, but it wasn't until later that the man touched her and realized she was dead. 

The man told police he made two additional stops between New Mexico and Oklahoma, where he attempted to ask the woman if she needed to exit the vehicle. After she failed to respond, he determined she was deceased.

Commissioner Green says the man used his cell phone to search what he should do with the woman's body.

Apparently, what he read on the Internet convinced him to continue driving to Michigan. Warren Det. Sgt. Stephen Mills said the man determined via the Internet that he had 48 hours to present the body to a medical examiner.

The woman's body remained in the passenger seat for the remainder of the drive. Police say he propped her body up and placed sunglasses on her face and a stuffed animal in her lap.

The man's 92-year-old mother was also riding in the back of the van in her wheelchair. During the 26-hour drive she was not able to use a restroom. The air-conditioning in the van stopped working soon after they began driving.

During the drive, the man was contacted by the Arizona mental health facility. They wanted to make sure the woman continued to get help when they arrived in Michigan. At this point he informed them of her death.

The mental health facility called police.

Local law enforcement contacted the man and urged him to go to the nearest emergency room. He insisted on continuing to Michigan.

In a sheriff department 911 call, an operator is heard informing Warren police that the man was en route to his son's home on Blackett Avenue.

Monday at approximately 7 p.m. Warren police met him at his son's home.

A neighbor, who wished her identity to not be revealed, told Lue, "If you've ever smelled a dead body before - you never get that out of your head. ... As soon as the police opened the door, thank God there was a good breeze going because you would just get a whiff of it once in a while."

The man is not in police custody and no charges have been filed. The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case.

READ MORE: Click here for MyFOXPheonix coverage of this story

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