Body Found in Suitcase in Arkansas Linked to Johnstown Home

JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. -- An investigation involving three police agencies in two states is underway after a body was found in field in Prairie County, Arkansas.

"It just doesn't make sense," said Lt. Dave Gilbo of the Johnstown Police Department.

According to Johnstown police, a man believed to be 89 years old passed away at this home on North Perry Street some time ago. Police say that, instead of calling for an ambulance, the people living with him put his body in a suitcase and made the 19-hour drive to Arkansas. 

"When they did the search warrant on the vehicle, that's what led them back to everybody, basically, at one point in time living here," said Gilbo.

One of those individuals that authorities say drove the body down is in Arkansas State Police custody and is expected to face charges related to dumping the body. An arrest warrant has been issued for the other person.

At this point, police say an autopsy shows the victim died of natural causes.

"We still have a lot of communications between us and the Arkansas State Police to iron this whole thing out," Gilbo said.

Meanwhile, a search warrant was executed at the home Wednesday morning.

State police investigators and a forensic team were at the scene for most of the day. Police say one woman was taken in for questioning but has since been released. However, authorities remain uncertain as to why they tried to dump the body in Arkansas.

"There could be issues with Social Security checks," Gilbo said. "We've seen more than one case where people keep people alive so people think he's alive."

"I drive past this street on a regular basis and I've never seen anything unusual until today," said Gerald Lehefeltes, a neighbor. "This is the first I've heard of anything since I've lived here."

Police are still waiting for the toxicology report to confirm the cause of death. Right now, the victim's name is not being released.

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