Police in Tennessee are still trying to piece together a bizarre chain of events that left one woman dead and led to her husband’s reported suicide alongside a Kentucky highway.
What police do know is that Joseph Parker called 911 at 2:45 a.m. last Friday morning.
“I've been married 12 years,” he told the dispatcher, according to WSMV. “On the fourth, which would have been two nights ago, I shot my wife in the temple of her head. I thought I killed her.”
He went on to say he put his wife’s body in a freezer in the garage of their Springfield, Tennessee, home.
“Well, I checked on her tonight and she’s not dead,” he added, according to The Tennessean.
Parker told the dispatcher he had given his wife some water and asked that paramedics be sent to the home. He reportedly declined to give any details about what led to the shooting.
When police and paramedics arrived on the scene they were stunned. Parker was nowhere to be found and his wife was dead.
Springfield Police Chief David Thompson told the Robertson County Times there was no chance the woman, identified as Samantha Parker, could ever have been mistaken for being alive.
“She was partially dismembered and stuffed into a freezer,” he said.
Samantha Parker was pronounced dead at the scene.
Springfield Police Detective Madison Burnett said this week it will be difficult to determine how long she had been dead.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to determine when he killed her, exactly,” he said, confirming that she had been shot in the head. “I’m not sure at this point whether we’ll be able to determine how long she’d been in the freezer.”
The grisly discovery kicked off a massive manhunt involving the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshall’s Service and numerous local authorities.
Authorities called the cell phone number from which the initial 911 call was placed. Parker answered the call at about 3:45 a.m. A Springfield Police report says Parker then told police he was “on the interstate headed to Chattanooga ... to visit friends.”
Pings on his cellphone around noon Friday indicated he was somewhere near Nashville. Police issued a warrant for his arrest that afternoon.
Parker reportedly shot and killed himself at 3:45 p.m. that same day during a traffic stop on Interstate 65 just over the Kentucky state line.
Police were last reported to be awaiting Richard Parker’s toxicology reports as well as results from Samantha Parker’s autopsy.