Man Who Drove 1,900 Miles With Girlfriend's Corpse Won't Be Charged

By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 09, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Michigan man drove 1,900 miles with his girlfriend's corpse in the passenger seat, and he neglected to report to anyone that she had died.

Ray Tomlinson, 62, and his mother, 93, had picked up Tomlinson's 31-year-old girlfriend from a mental health facility in Arizona and began the long drive home to Detroit. Only one problem: His girlfriend died at some point during the trip.

Detroit's WDIV-TV reports that Tomlinson kept on driving, planning to drop off the dead body at the county morgue once they returned to Michigan.

What to Do With a Corpse?

At some point while they drove through the Southwest, Tomlinson discovered that his girlfriend was stone dead in the seat next to him. However, instead of calling the police, he used his smartphone to look up what to do with a corpse, reports WDIV. From there, he determined he had 48 hours to get her body to a morgue.

Even stranger, police were alerted to the incident after Tomlinson answered a call on his dead girlfriend's cell phone from the Arizona mental health facility. According to Detroit's WWJ-TV, Tomlinson told the facility that his girlfriend couldn't make any future appointments, since she was dead. The facility convinced him to call 911.

Various states have different laws regarding the handling and care of corpses, but The Associated Press reports Tomlinson won't be charged with a crime. Police found no signs of foul play in his late girlfriend's autopsy, and they suspect she may have taken oxycodone.

The Old and the Dead

Michigan law prohibits mutilating or "conveying away" human bodies from the place that they may be interred (i.e., grave robbing), but Tomlinson's action (or inaction) doesn't seem to fit this statute.

Tomlinson told the Detroit Free Press that he decided to keep driving to Michigan because he had his elderly mother in the van and she "doesn't travel well." We can't imagine that the traveling was much better with a decomposing corpse in the front passenger seat.

Surprisingly, Tomlinson isn't the first person to "innocently" keep a corpse in his car. A Southern California real estate agent once kept a homeless woman's corpse in her car for months because she was afraid to tell anyone the woman had died in her car.

And if anyone was wondering where the "Weekend at Bernie's" reference comes in, it's reported that Tomlinson's late girlfriend had sunglasses on during her final road trip.

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