Police pull over Oklahoma man, realize wife is dead in passenger seat

Posted at 5:36 AM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-14 12:30:29-04

ELOY, Arizona — A 70-year-old Oklahoma man is behind bars after an Eloy, Arizona police officer found a dead body in his car during a traffic stop.

Authorities say the officer stopped Rodney Puckett in the area of Toltec Road along Interstate 10 on Monday. While the officer was talking to Puckett, he noticed the body of a dead woman sitting in the passenger seat.

Police say the woman was identified as Rodney’s wife, 74-year-old Linda Puckett. Rodney told investigators Linda died at a hotel in Texas during the couple’s road trip. He said he moved her body into the car and continued to their destination.

The couple, who married in 2011, were divorcing. Linda was issued a protective order from her husband on Feb. 6 and it was continued Monday, records show. Linda filed for divorce on Feb. 8.

In another connection, Rodney was reported missing in April, but the Silver Alert for him was canceled once it was found he had not been heard from because he was in a Kansas jail. The Silver Alert said he has bipolar disorder.

Linda’s body was turned over to the Pinal County Medical Examiner to determine cause of death, police said. The Eloy Police Department is working with Texas authorities to determine if Linda's death was a result of homicide.

Rodney was booked into Pinal County Jail for abandonment or concealment of a body.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be filed later.