The Oklahoma man arrested while driving with his dead wife’s body was only wearing his underwear — and apparently positioned the woman’s body upside-down in the passenger seat, police said.
Police in Eloy stopped Rodney Puckett, 70, on Monday after he was spotted outside a Carl’s Jr. restaurant near Interstate 10, southeast of Phoenix. An employee told a responding detective that two people had just pulled up to pick up their food while naked, police said in an updated statement released Tuesday.
“The position of the woman caused immediate concern because she laying with her head on the floorboard and her legs towards the headrest,” police said.
Puckett, who was wearing only his skivvies, told police that his 74-year-old wife, Linda, died while they were staying at a hotel in El Paso, Texas, and that he then loaded her body onto a luggage cart before putting it into the couple’s car to continue on their trip.
“When Rodney was unable to wake Linda, he loaded her onto a luggage cart and then placed her in his vehicle,” the statement continued. “It is not clear what his intentions were at this point.”
Surveillance video from the hotel shows the couple walking into a room late Sunday. Hours later, the footage shows Rodney Puckett pushing a luggage cart out of the room early Monday with what appears to be a woman’s body hidden beneath a blanket, police said.
An initial exam of Linda Puckett’s body revealed “minor blunt force trauma,” police said. The woman’s cause and manner of death are still pending and require additional testing that could take up to anywhere between six and 12 weeks, a spokeswoman for the Pinal County Medical Examiner’s Office told The Post Wednesday.
The investigation into the death of Puckett’s wife is ongoing and investigators are working with detectives in El Paso, Eloy police said.
Puckett, who was arrested on a charge of abandonment or concealment of a body, remained in custody Wednesday on $100,000 bond. He’s expected back in court for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, jail records show.
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