Man stays in motel room with girlfriend's corpse for TWO DAYS
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:12 PM on 21st February 2012
Arrested: Derek Tanke stayed in his motel room with his dead girlfriend's body and stole her money for alcohol
A man has been arrested after he stayed in a motel room with his girlfriend's corpse for two days.
Rather than alerting authorities when Nancy Johnston died, Derek Tanke, 47, allegedly stole her debit card to buy vodka and pay for two more days in the Joliet, Illinois motel.
He called 911 minutes before he was due to check out and when police arrived, they noted 'a significant odour of decomposition'.
Tanke, who has been arrested on six occasions for beating Johnston, admitted to punching her several times in the face days before her death.
But police, who noted damage to the woman's face when they found her body, do not believe the assault was the cause of her death.
A pathologist working for the Will County coroner’s office told police that Johnston’s death was not a homicide, Joliet Chief Michael Trafton said.
Speaking to the Herald Sun, he added that Johnston, 54, had several medical problems.
Just before he was due to leave the motel on Friday morning, Tanke called 911 saying Johnston needed an ambulance.
When police and fire officers arrived at the Bel-Air Motel, it was clear Johnston had been dead for some time, Trafton added.
Grim: When Tanke finally called police, his room smelled 'of decomposition'
During police questioning on Friday, Tanke told police he and Johnston had fought earlier in the week but that she was still alive afterwards.
He told police he found her dead when he woke on Friday morning but when police said she had been dead longer, he admitted she had died on Wednesday.
Joliet police still await the results of Johnston's autopsy.
Tanke, who is from Joliet, has been charged with concealment of a death, unlawful use of a credit card and ID theft. His bail was set at $75,000.