HARTVILLE, Ohio – An Ohio man who told authorities that his wife died on a trip to Elvis Presley's Graceland and he turned her body over to emergency responders, now says he put her body in the Tennessee River after she died of natural causes, police said Monday.
Police in Hartville, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Akron, said 72-year-old Philip Snider had previously told them that Roberta Snider was ill and died in a hotel parking lot in Memphis in early January and he flagged down an ambulance. He told authorities that he didn't know where they took her body, and he came back to Ohio, police said.
Hartville Police Chief Larry Dordea told the Akron Beacon Journal on Monday that Snider said in a later interview that he threw his wife's body off a bridge over the river after she died of natural causes because "he wanted to put her back with nature."
Dordea said the man's story began to change after authorities could not find any evidence that Roberta Snider had checked into any hotels on the trip. Authorities have said that Philip Snider did check into a hotel in the Graceland area in early January.
Authorities in Benton County, Tennessee, are helping in the search for the missing 70-year-old woman, according to Dordea. He also said that Snider had taken a polygraph test, and authorities were awaiting analysis of the test results. No charges have been filed in the case.
A recording at a phone number for Snider said the number was no longer in service.
A message seeking additional comment from Dordea was left at the police department Monday night.