Monday, June 9, 2014

Arizona snowbird takes home corpse

Vendors love Arizona snowbirds. They buy all sorts of treasures to take back home with them at the end of the season. But a Michigan man who snowbirds the Grand Canyon State may have the record for the strangest thing taken home: A corpse.

Ray Tomlinson, a 62-year-old man from Clinton Township, made an acquaintance with a 31-year-old homeless woman from New Jersey. Tomlinson helped the woman out, and saw a lot of her. When winter rolled around, Tomlinson and his mother headed to Arizona, the girl friend to Florida. This spring, as the weather changed, the two contacted each other. She came out to Arizona, and checked herself into a hospital in Tempe.

The first of June, Tomlinson and his mother were ready to head back to Michigan, and the so-far unidentified woman checked herself out of the hospital and joined Tomlinson and his mother in his mini-van for the trip back to Michigan. It was somewhere in Texas that Ray Tomlinson said he noticed a problem: His friend was slumped over in the seat, and cool to the touch. Authorities think she may have overdosed on prescription pain medications she'd taken at a stop in Flagstaff.

What do you do when you find your girlfriend has passed away and you're in a strange state? Go for help where everyone goes these days: To the Internet! Tomlinson used his smart phone to search the web and found information that lead him to believe he had 48 hours to get his friend to a medical examiner or to a morgue. In a combination of what Tomlinson calls, 'Because I care so much,' and concern that his rig might be impounded, he made the decision to drive on to Michigan.

Before Tomlinson, his mother, and their deceased passenger could make it to Michigan, authorities were already on to the situation. The hospital where the girl friend had been checked in, called on her cell phone to check up on her. Tomlinson answered the call, explained what had happened, and told the probably weirded-out staffer that he had no intention of taking their advice to stop, and kept on driving. By the time the group had hit Illinois, police were calling Tomlinson, asking him to stop. The group continued on clear to Tomlinson's home, whereupon authorities found the body of Ray Tomlinson's girl friend had already started to decompose.

Authorities say they don't have any intention to charge Ray Tomlinson in the case. They don't feel there's enough evidence to charge him with a crime.