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The Baffling Story of How a Woman’s Mummified Body Went Undiscovered in Her Garage for as Long as Six Years


"The mail didn’t pile up and the grass was always cut."

Image source: WXYZ-TV

Six years. That's how long investigators say a Michigan woman could have been dead -- her body mummified at this point -- after she was only just discovered this week in a home's garage.


“Come to think of it, [the woman] was pretty much the only person I didn’t know …,"Darryl Tillery who lives a few houses down from the woman in Pontiac, Mich., told the Macomb Daily. "But there were never any signs of anything out of the norm. The mail didn’t pile up and the grass was always cut."

Undersheriff Michael McCabe told the newspaper she had automatic payments on her house and utilities, and a neighbor kept her lawn tidy lawn, thinking she moved.

It is “pretty weird for that to go unnoticed for that long," Tillery added.

Image source: WXYZ-TV Image source: WXYZ-TV

According to the newspaper, the woman was found by a management company Wednesday after the home became foreclosed. She was found inside her car windows up -- the key in the off position -- wearing a winter coat and didn't show any trauma, medical examiners said.

If the woman found in the car is identified as the homeowner, who MLive noted is listed as Pia Davida Farrenkopf, investigators think she could have died in 2008, which is when her car registration expired. She would now be 49 years old.

Image source: WXYZ-TV Image source: WXYZ-TV

“She kept to herself. I figured she traveled a lot, because she wouldn’t be home for months, then I’d see her off and on,” a neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Macomb Daily. “When I didn’t see her for a while when the economy went bad, I thought she left ... someone said she moved to California.”

This neighbor said he thought the homeowner, who he noted had a European accent, had a son. The newspaper reported that a couple relatives have been found and notified.

WXYZ-TV identified a woman who says she's Farrenkopf's sister, currently living in Boston, who corroborated what neighbors have said -- that Farrenkopf used to travel for work a lot. But the sister, who the news station did not name, said Farrenkopf didn't work for the auto industry but a bank. She also said that she never knew of her sister having a son.

Image source: WXYZ-TV Image source: WXYZ-TV

The sister said when she would call Farrenkopf, the phone would just ring.

Edward Carroll, a man who married Farrenkopf's mother three years ago, told WXYZ he tried to contact the daughter to be at the wedding but never heard from her. Farrenkopf's mother, who Carroll said later died of cancer, hadn't heard from many of her children for years.

"A lot of her children, in fact, her oldest child, she hadn’t seen her probably in 30 years,” the man who lives in Georgia told the news station.

Watch WXYZ-TV's report:

Not knowing the circumstances of the woman's death yet, the Macomb Daily reported investigators are treating the home as if it's a crime scene. The home also has a black mold issue.

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