Man arrested while driving in Arizona with wife’s corpse was filmed removing body from Texas hotel
A 70-year-old Oklahoma man was found driving through Arizona with his dead wife after a Carl’s Jr employee spotted her naked corpse upside down in the passenger seat.
Rodney Puckett was only wearing underpants when he was pulled over by police in Eloy, Arizona, on Monday and an officer noticed the dead body in the front seat.
The deceased was identified as Rodney’s 74-year-old estranged wife Linda Puckett. Her body was upside down, with her head resting in the wheel well and legs up in the air, according to police.
Authorities were tipped off to the situation after Rodney stopped by the Carl’s Jr in Eloy and ordered a burger. Maria Davis, who was manning the drive thru at the time, said Rodney initially caught her attention because he was honking his horn and appeared to be naked.
She then looked over to the passenger side of his car and saw a woman completely naked with her face in the wheel well and legs in the air.
‘It wasn’t normal,’ Davis told KOLD. ‘There was like a blue cover he had in the front, and he was like trying to cover her, like her behind, but her legs were still sticking up in the air.
‘I kept telling my coworker: “I can’t believe what I’m seeing before my eyes.”‘
Rodney Puckett, 70, (left) was arrested Monday while driving through Eloy, Arizona, with his wife Linda’s naked corpse in the passenger seat. He claimed that the 74-year-old (right) died at a hotel in El Paso, Texas, while they were on a road trip from Oklahoma to California
Authorities were tipped off to the situation after Rodney stopped by the Carl’s Jr in Eloy and ordered a burger. Maria Davis (above), who was manning the drive thru at the time, said she couldn’t believe her eyes when she spotted the customer’s striking passenger
Davis tried to remain calm and stall Rodney for long enough to get a license plate number.
‘I was shaking, scared,’ she said.
‘My heart felt like it was going to stop, it was beating so fast. I was trying to keep eye contact with him, but I was scared.’
After he pulled away she contacted police, who stopped Rodney on Interstate 10 a short time later.
The Carl’s Jr location on N Toltec Road where Rodney allegedly stopped to get a burger before his deceased passenger was spotted is pictured above
The car Rodney was driving when he was pulled over on Interstate 10 is pictured above
The map above shows the more than 1,000 miles between Rodney and Linda’s home in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and where the husband was arrested on Monday in Eloy, Oklahoma
Rodney told police that the couple, who live in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, were on a road trip when he found Linda unresponsive at a hotel in El Paso, Texas.
He said he moved her body into the car and continued driving toward their destination in California.
Police obtained a video which reportedly shows Rodney rolling his wife’s blanketed body out of the hotel on a luggage cart.
Eloy is nearly 370 miles from El Paso, an approximately five-and-a-half hour drive.
‘I have been in law enforcement and with the Eloy Police Department for 17 years and this is the most bizarre case I have ever seen in Eloy,’ Sgt Kristie Barnette said.
Rodney is pictured above in his mugshot. The 70-year-old is jailed on a charge of abandonment or concealment of a corpse
Linda’s body was turned over to the Pinal County Medical Examine to determine the cause of death. Officials said there were signs of blunt force trauma on her body.
The Eloy Police Department and Texas authorities have teamed up to determine whether she was the victim of a homicide.
Rodney is currently being held at Pinal County Jail on a charge of abandonment or concealment of a body.
The investigation is ongoing and police say additional charges may be filed against him at a later date.
Rodney and Linda had been married since 2011 and were in the middle of a divorce.
Linda filed for divorce and sought a protective order against her husband earlier this year. The order was granted on February 6 and continued on Monday, according to court records obtained by ABC15.
According to the Arizona outlet, Rodney was reported missing in April and a Silver Alert was issued, stating that he had bipolar disorder.
The alert was canceled when authorities learned that he hadn’t been heard from because he was in a Kansas jail for eluding police.
Linda Puckett is seen above in an undated photo released by her family after her death
The stretch of Interstate 10 where Rodney was pulled over Monday in Eloy, Arizona, is pictured