Police: Man waited 4 days to call after woman died in hotel

A homeless man staying at an Old Lycoming Township motel faces a charge of abuse of a corpse for allegedly waiting four days to call authorities after a 34-year-old woman who had been staying with him died in his room, according to township police.

John Cobb Jr, 59, out on supervised bail in a felony drug case, didn’t called 911 until Wednesday morning because he was afraid he would “go to jail,” according to township police Sgt. Christopher Kriner.

“He failed to render emergency medical assistance or call 911,” Kriner said.

Cobb, who has no permanent local address, checked into the Budget Inn Motel, at 2295 Lycoming Creek Road, for a week’s stay on Nov. 1, Kriner said in an affidavit.

Kriner said Cobb, formerly of the city, allowed the female acquaintance to spend the night with him when she showed up at his room on Nov. 2. When Cobb left the room early the next morning (Saturday), the woman, whose name has not been released, was still there, Kriner said he was told.

When Cobb returned to his room later that same night about 6 p.m., he “found the woman unresponsive on the floor. He checked for a pulse, but found none. Cobb further explained that he got scared and thought about cutting off his ankle monitor and fleeing,” according to Kriner’s affidavit.

Instead, Cobb spent the night “in the room with the woman’s deceased body before leaving the motel Sunday morning,” Kriner said.

On the room’s door, he left a note for housekeeping staff that read “Room is good,’ “ that way no one would disturb the scene and discover the body.

Cobb never again returned to the motel, but spent the next three nights “sleeping on people’s porches,” according to what he told Kriner.

From a relative’s home in the city, Cobb finally called 911 on Wednesday morning to report that there was a dead person in the motel room, Kriner said.

Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. pronounced the woman dead at the scene. Her name may be released in a few days, but authorities were still trying to contact relatives Wednesday night. There were no outward signs of trauma to the body, Kiessling said, adding that toxicology tests will be done to determine if drugs played any role in her death.

Police said the woman, a mother of two out-of-state children, was homeless and on probation for shoplifting.

Cobb has been free on $99,000 supervised bail since Oct. 10. He had been incarcerated at the Lycoming County Prison since July on state police charges of possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and related offenses for allegedly selling cocaine from his then city home in the 1200 block of Park Ave in late May.

Following his arraignment before District Judge William Solomon, Cobb was jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail. He faces an additional charge of recklessly endangering. Police said efforts were underway to have his bail revoked in the drug case.