Juneau Empire reported the recently deceased, an unnamed 78-year-old man from Prince of Wales Island, died of natural causes on Saturday, July 23. He was laid in a basic aluminum casket used for transporting bodies, and loaded into the back of a pickup truck for transport to the local mortuary.
His elderly widow had other plans however, and instead of the mortuary she took her late husband on a little road trip. At around 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday, police in Ketchikan received an anonymous call from the area near the Potlatch Bar. When officers arrived on the scene, they found the transport casket in the back of the pickup with the recently departed still within and packed in ice.
"The body was in that and supposed to be destined for the mortuary, but for some reason she decided to not go directly to the mortuary and had been driving around with him for a couple of days," said KPD Chief Alan Bengaard. "My understanding of this is kind of–leading up to the events of the last couple days–there's been a rolling wake or viewing. It was pointed out to me that, evidently, she had stopped at a couple of canneries and got ice and filled the bed of the truck with ice to keep the body chilled."
The woman did not break any laws and was not charged. A local mortuary took custody of the body after police responded, and is awaiting the family's arrangements for transport.
"Hopefully it won't go back on the road again," said Bengaard. "You can't make stuff like this up."