The body of a Michigan woman, who had been dead for at least six years, has been discovered in a mummified condition in the back seat of her SUV, which was parked inside her garage.
Although for six years there had been no sign of the Pontiac, Mich., woman, whose body was found Wednesday, neighbors didn’t notice any red flags.
They said the woman, Pia Farrenkopf, traveled often and they eventually thought she moved out of the house. Public records list her as 49 years old, according to a news story by MLive Detroit, which also stated that her body was found in the back seat of a gray SUV parked inside the garage.
"She was probably there for a couple of days, then she’d leave for a week, then she’d come back. Then she’d leave for a month and come back," said neighbor Caitlyn Talbot.
So how was the woman, believed to be a German immigrant, dead for six years and nobody noticed? Part of the reason was auto-pay. She had her mortgage automatically paid every month. When the bank account dried up, the home eventually went into foreclosure.
The woman’s body was discovered by a contractor sent by the bank holding the mortgage, CNN reported. “She had $54,000 in her account, and her bills were being deducted,” Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe told the Detroit Free Press.
“Eventually, the money ran out, and her house went into foreclosure.” Farrenkopf’s sister told WXYZ that she worked for a bank and traveled all over the world for her employer.
She said the times she would contact her sister, the phone would just ring and she would hang up. Neighbors said there suspicions also weren’t raised because the woman’s lawn wasn’t unkempt.
“It was pretty manicured,” neighbor Darryl Tillery, 49, told the Free Press. “There was no indication there was a body in there, at all.”
Talbot said Farrenkopf was a quiet type, which also kept her under the neighborhood radar.
"She really kept to herself. We never really heard anything from her," she said.
After learning she had been dead for at least six years, neighbors wondered why her family or employer didn’t check up on her during that span.
"You’d think because of her job, and we heard she had a son, so you’d think someone would’ve come looking for her," Talbot said.
Edward Caroll, Farrenkopf’s stepfather, said he married Farrenkopf’s mother three years ago. He said Pia Farrenkopf never answered the wedding invitation.
“I tried to find her through the Internet and everything and I never could find her. And I wrote a letter a couple times and I think some of them came back,” he told WXYZ. “Her mother hadn’t heard from her for years and years. A lot of her children, in fact, her oldest child, she hadn’t seen her probably in 30 years,” he said.
An autopsy found that there was no trauma to Farrenkopf’s body, the Free Press reported. The dead woman’s skin was intact but her organs were decomposed, according to Oakland County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Bernardino Pacris. There was also no evidence of injuries to Farrenkopf’s body.
A cause of death is still pending.