A husband arrested in Arizona on suspicion of concealing his wife’s dead body was seen earlier on security video moving a woman’s naked body to his vehicle outside a Texas hotel, police said Tuesday.
Previous footage showed the couple from Sand Springs, Oklahoma, walking into their room at the El Paso hotel on Sunday evening.
The next morning, 70-year-old Rodney Puckett is seen using a luggage cart to move the body of 74-year-old Linda Puckett, said Sgt. Kristie Barnette, a police spokeswoman in Eloy, where Rodney Puckett was later arrested.
Puckett told investigators he found his wife unresponsive on Monday and put her body in their vehicle before continuing an unplanned trip to California.
The cause of death hasn’t been determined, but Barnette noted that Linda Puckett had signs of blunt-force trauma on her body. It’s unclear why Rodney Puckett moved the body, she said.
It’s not known whether he has an attorney who could comment.
Authorities in Arizona were alerted about Puckett after a drive-thru worker at a restaurant in Eloy, 64 miles (103 kilometers) southeast of downtown Phoenix, reported seeing a naked woman inside Puckett’s vehicle.
A detective responded and found Linda Puckett’s body in the front seat, with her head on the floorboard and her feet near the headrest. Rodney Puckett was wearing only underwear.
El Paso police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said authorities there didn’t receive any earlier reports of suspicious activity involving the couple. He declined to comment further.
The couple was undergoing a divorce to end their nearly eight-year marriage and had filed restraining orders against each other earlier this year in Oklahoma, court records state. A lawyer representing Linda Puckett in the divorce said in the documents that she and her husband were incompatible.
Jonathan Sutton, an attorney in Tulsa who represented Rodney Puckett in the divorce, declined to comment about the arrest in Arizona. Joseph Harris, who represented Linda Puckett in the divorce, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud.