A Tennessee man who wrapped a body believed to be his dead mother in a tarp and drove with it in the back of his truck hours away to a Nashville hospital claimed she had committed suicide in the woods, authorities said Sunday.
Thomas Henshall Jr., 37, showed up at Nashville’s VA Medical Center just after 5:15 p.m. on Saturday with his girlfriend and the body, the Metro Nashville Police Department said.
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He claimed that his mother shot herself in a wooded area in Chattanooga, a city in Hamilton County located over a hundred miles southeast of Nashville. Henshall said that he picked up his girlfriend, whom police did not name, at 8:30 a.m. with the body already in the truck.
Henshall and his girlfriend said they stopped for food, gas and coffee before driving the body to a VA medical facility in Chattanooga, which they said was closed, authorities said.
The pair then drove to Nashville, passing multiple hospitals and law enforcement facilities during the hours-long journey, police said.
During an interview, Henshall told police he was “right next to his mother when she shot herself.” However, police said Henshall had told his girlfriend he “discovered the victim in the woods.”
Henshall invoked his Miranda rights after detectives asked how his mother obtained a gun, police said.
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Henshall was charged with evidence tampering for touching and concealing the victim’s body, and failure to report the discovery of a dead body, police said.
He was being held at the Davidson County Jail on $80,000 bond.
A medical examiner will perform an autopsy for positive identification of the body found in the tarp.