Police said Brooks, who was 4-feet-11 inches tall, wasn’t dismembered.
The body in a suitcase that travelled 1,600 kilometres from New York to Arkansas before being dumped in a rice field was that of a Second World War veteran, police say.
David Gilbo of the Johnstown, New York, Police Department told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Robert Brooks died of natural causes at his home about a month before his body was discovered in a Prairie County field on March 5, Lt.
Gilbo said investigators are still trying to determine why his body was moved. Investigators are looking at whether his caregivers hid the death to continue receiving Social Security payments.
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In New York, the offence is punishable by three years in prison, while in Arkansas it is punishable by 10 years. Gilbo said authorities will not be extraditing them to New York because of Arkansas’ strict laws on abuse of a corpse.
Brooks served in the military and was a gunner in a B-17 bomber’s ball turret.
– With files from Postmedia Network
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Authorities in two states are trying to figure out why the body of an elderly New York man was hauled more than 1,000 miles in a suitcase and dumped in an Arkansas rice field. Dave Gilbo says police suspect the unidentified man died of natural causes. Johnstown, New York, Police Lt. Fifty-six-year-old Virginia Colvin faces a preliminary charge of abuse of a corpse. This undated photo provided by the Arkansas State Police shows Virginia Colvin. (Arkansa State Police via AP)
Two people considered to be caregivers of Brooks – Virgina Colvin and Michael Stivers – have been detained on suspicion of abuse of a corpse.
Woman hauled dead body for 1,600km in suitcase: Cops
“He was a war hero who could have been buried at the (Arlington) National Cemetery,” Gilbo said. “Instead, he ends up in a suitcase dumped in a field in Arkansas.”
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“It’s the most dangerous assignment in war,” Prairie County Sheriff Rick Hickman said. “The belly gunner is in a small bubble on the bottom of the plane. Life expectancy on that job is very short.” The enemy wants to shoot at him first.