Prairie Co. Suitcase Death: Suspect Says She Had No Ill Intentions

PRAIRIE COUNTY, Ark. - For the first time since her arrest, a woman accused of abusing the corpse of a World War II veteran by transporting his body more than 1,000 miles from New York to Arkansas in a suitcase is telling her side of the story...
 
We spoke to the woman, who claims she did not know she was doing anything wrong by trying to bring the man back to Arkansas.
 
On April 9, the Patriot Guard escorted the ashes of World War II veteran Robert D. Brooks away from Arkansas...
 
In March, Prairie County authorities arrested Virginia Colvin, 56, who had been Brooks' caregiver for the past decade. They also arrested her boyfriend, Michael Stivers. 
 
The two are accused of abusing Brooks' corpse by stuffing his 4-foot-11 frame in a suitcase and driving his body over 1,000 miles from Johnstown, New York, to Prairie County, Arkansas. Authorities say it appears Brooks died of natural causes sometime in January or February.
 
"He passed sitting in his chair in my room. He just like... went to sleep," Colvin said.
 
According to Colvin, who we spoke to by phone, she didn't have any ill intentions.
 
"I brought him home out of love. If I could, I would have him here right now," Colvin said.
 
She said her niece, Leeann Sager, wouldn't allow her to call anyone because Sager would have been found in violation of a court order that barred her from having contact with Aaron Rulison.
 
"I couldn't call the coroner or nobody, cause she would have got in trouble for him. And she was trying to get off probation. She'd been on it nine years," Colvin said.
 
Both Sager and Rulison have been charged by Johnstown Police for concealing a human corpse. Sager is also now accused of social services fraud.
 
"It's a [Class E] Felony just to not take the proper steps of contacting authorities... medical examiner's office,"
 
According to Colvin, she and Stivers drove Brooks body to Arkansas with the intent of burying him on her family's plot. But when the authorities were called, they panicked and hid him on a nearby farm, planning to return later. 
 
"He was not throwed out in no field. He was sat outside in the shade," Colvin said.
 
Colvin continued, "All I was doing was was fulfilling his wishes. That's all I thought I was doing, was what he wanted. I wasn't trying to do nothing wrong."
 
New York authorities are investigating possible fraud, and Johnstown Police say they have uncovered evidence that money was withdrawn from Brooks' accounts after his death.
 
To follow this story and all of Marci Manley's coverage, click here for Facebook or here for Twitter.
 
DO YOU NEED FOX16 INVESTIGATES? 
 
Fox16 Investigates is committed to uncovering truth and problems people face across Arkansas. If you have a story that needs to be investigated, call Investigative Reporter Marci Manley on the Investigations Tipline at (501) 340-4448 or email at investigations@fox16.com.

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