A Michigan woman's mummified body has been found insider her car, with auto-payments hiding her death for six years.
In Pontiac, Michigan, a mummified body of a woman was found sitting in the back seat of her car, parked in her garage. with the key halfway into the ignition. Authorities surmise the woman, believed to be Pia Farrenkopf, has been dead for six years, with her bills paid from her bank account through auto-pay, which "hid" her death for years. Once her accounts dried up, and the bills stopped being paid, and after warnings were left unanswered, the bank holding the mortgage foreclosed on the house and not until this week, when a worker was sent by the bank to repair a hole in the roof, was her body found.
Neighbors didn't notice anything unusual and they claim the woman, whom they describe as of German descent, traveled a lot and kept to herself. The house itself had no signs of anything wrong, according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. One of her neighbors mowed her grass regularly and her mail didn't pile up since the post office was collecting it -- nothing insider her home or car pointed to any cause of death, Bouchard states. Caitlyn Talbot, Farrenkop's neighbor, mentions that even if the house didn't have an owner for years, it was never broken into. However, authorities have said that the house appears to have black mold inside and that detectives who entered the structure wore hazardous material suits.
Authorities are awaiting a toxicology report that will take four to six weeks to process before determining the cause of death, and the medical examiner found no signs of trauma to the body, according to Oakland County Undersheriff, Mike McCabe. As for the body's mummification, Bouchard states that the woman's body was inside a closed vehicle inside a closed garage, and thus, was not exposed to outside air or other factors that might aid in decomposition. Dr. Bernardino Pacris, the county deputy medical examiner who conducted the autopsy, said that the woman's skin was still intact, but that the internal organs had decomposed. Pacris notes that in the mummification process, human skin develops a parchment-like consistency and leathery texture; and while finding a body in this state is unusual, "once in a while, we see this."
Farrenkop's estranged sister has been contacted, with authorities relying on dental records to correctly identify the woman, Pia Farrenkopf would be 49 years old this year if she was still alive.
Personally, it's kind of scary and worrying that a person can die for years without anyone noticing due to how automated everything in the world is.