WHITEHALL (KDKA) — A woman is dead and a man is behind bars after police found a lifeless, naked body in the back of a van during a traffic stop in the South Hills.
John Sokolowski, 36, has been arrested on charges of driving under the influence and abuse of a corpse. His girlfriend, Ashley Morgenstern, was found dead in the back of the van Sokolowski was driving around.
Police say it all started when a pedestrian flagged down a sheriff’s deputy to report a vehicle driving erratically nearby.
Allegheny County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Tarap found the van and followed it until it stopped at the end of a dead-end street.
“I got out and approached the driver to see if he possibly had a medical condition or was lost,” Deputy Tarap said. “Upon questioning him, he appeared to be disoriented.”
Police say Sokolowski’s speech was slow and slurred, but the suspect claimed that he was just hot and tired.
When asked if there was anyone else in the van, Sokolowski told officials that his girlfriend may be in the back.
Morgenstern’s body was lifeless and cold to the touch when found in the third row of the van. According to the criminal complaint, police also found two empty stamp bags in Sokolowski’s pockets.
The suspect claimed that when he woke up Wednesday morning, he could not wake his girlfriend up and got scared. Then, he proceeded to spent the next few hours just driving around.