WARREN, Mich. (AP) -- Police say a Detroit-area man won't face charges after he failed to immediately tell authorities that his girlfriend had died during a drive to Michigan from Arizona.
Warren police Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso tells the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News the case involved some "bizarre" judgment and behavior but wasn't criminal.
Ray Tomlinson, 62, of Clinton Township, says he kept driving after his 31-year-old girlfriend died. He says he had his 92-year-old mother in the van and wanted to get her home. He also said he feared arrest and wanted to get the body to a Michigan morgue.
Officers arrived Tuesday at Tomlinson's son's home in Warren to find the corpse in the front passenger seat wearing a seatbelt and sunglasses. Tomlinson was weeping on the curb and his mother was in her wheelchair in the back of the van.
"She obviously had been dead for at least 24 hours in screeching heat," said Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green.
The dead woman's name hasn't been released.
Police said Tomlinson and her mother spend their winters in Arizona and were returning to Michigan with the younger woman with whom the man said he had had a romantic relationship.
Their 1,700 mile journey began Sunday in the Phoenix area after the woman checked herself out of a mental health facility there. At some point the woman, who had a history of substance abuse problems, may have taken oxycodone, Green said.
"They stopped in Flagstaff and she went in to use the bathroom," Green said. "We're guessing she might have overdosed."
Green said the driver later tried to wake her but discovered her body was cold and presumed that she had died. He did an Internet search on his cellphone and later told police he read something about having 48 hours to take a corpse to a medical examiner or morgue.
As their macabre journey continued, someone at the mental health facility in Arizona called the woman's cellphone to check on her.
"It's a courtesy call," Green said. "He answers and said, 'She can't talk. ... She's dead.'"
The caller told him to immediately contact police. The driver didn't and later told investigators he was afraid police would arrest them and seize his van.
The facility filed a missing-persons report and police contacted the driver, who met them Tuesday. The man has not been arrested and the case is under investigation.
The man gave police explanations for his actions, "which made sense to him," Green said. But "was he committing a crime or was it stupidity?"