Roberta Snider, 70
Hartville Police Department
KC Baker
January 23, 2018 02:37 PM

An Ohio man who told police his wife died during a trip to Graceland and that he subsequently lost track of her body now says he “returned her to nature” by throwing her remains in the Tennessee River, PEOPLE confirms.

Authorities have been searching for 70-year-old Roberta Snider of Hartville, Ohio, for more than a week, Hartville Police Chief Larry Dordea tells PEOPLE.

No charges have been filed against her husband of 53 years, Philip Snider, 72, also of Hartville, as authorities continue their investigation, which is still considered a missing persons case, says Dordea.

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The mystery surrounding Roberta’s whereabouts began on Jan. 9, when police in Hartville, Ohio, received a call from Brian Heisler, who asked for help in locating his sister, Roberta, says Dordea.

Heisler explained to police Philip had taken Roberta on a trip to Graceland on Jan. 4 but had returned home without her, Dordea says.

During the trip, Heisler said Philip allegedly told him that Roberta “had some kind of episode and passed away,” says Dordea.

Philip allegedly told Heisler that he spotted an ambulance in Memphis and asked paramedics to check on his wife, and that paramedics confirmed to him that she had died, says Dordea.

Philip allegedly told Heisler that he left his wife’s body with paramedics after indicating he wanted her to be cremated, says Dordea, describing such alleged behavior as “unusual.”

However, when Hartville police contacted hospitals, EMS companies, and coroners in the Memphis area, none had any record of Roberta or any Jane Does that fit Roberta’s description, says Dordea.

During interviews with police, family members revealed that Philip had allegedly told them “a variety of stories” about what had happened to Roberta, says Dordea.

Dordea adds that when police talked to Philip again, he allegedly changed his story significantly.

“He acknowledged that he had panicked and didn’t want her to exist on someone’s mantle so he returned her to nature and threw her off the Interstate 40 bridge over the Tennessee River,” says Dordea.

According to Dordea, Philip told police Roberta died of natural causes.

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The department is working with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, which has been searching for Roberta along the Tennessee River, to no avail, says Dordea.

On Monday night, Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher said Philip checked into a hotel in Memphis by himself, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

He said Philip could be charged with desecration of a corpse, which is a misdemeanor, but that he could face other charges, depending on autopsy results, the paper reports.

PEOPLE’s attempts to reach Philip were unsuccessful.

Anyone with information about Roberta Snider should call the Hartville Police Department at 330-877-2630.

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