Dead woman's body lay decomposing in garage for six years before she was found

Death went unnoticed because all her bills were paid and her lawn regularly cut by a neighbour

The mummified remains of a woman lay decomposing in the back seat of a car for six years before anyone noticed, police have said.

Officials think the body, which has not yet been formally identified but is believed to be Pia Davida Farrenkopf, the last owner of the house, was found in the garage of Farrenkopf's home in Pontiac, Michigan. The body was only discovered when a bank contractor was sent to the home to investigate a hole in the roof.

Ms Farrenkopf's bills were paid by direct debit, her mail sent to the post office and her grass regularly cut by a neighbour for six years. The woman’s remains were only discovered in the Jeep Liberty after Ms Farrenkopf account ran out of funds and someone was sent to check why mortgage payments had stopped.

She was found clothed in a heavy jacket and jeans, which led investigators to suspect that she died in the winter, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The key was in the ignition, but switched to the off mode, according to Undersheriff Mike McCabe.

The death is being treated as a homicide at this time, and police say suicide by carbon monoxide is unlikely.

Medical examiners hope to find dental records to formally identify the corpse.

It is thought that the woman stopped working as a contractor in the financial department of the Chrysler car firm in 2008. She then set up direct debit payments from her bank which at one time contained $54,000.

“It is kind of the perfect storm for a mysterious set of circumstance and a challenge because of the extreme degradation of the body,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

“The last withdrawal from her account was in March 2013,” he added.

Edward Caroll, who married Farrenkopf’s late mother three years ago, told local broadcaster WXYZ that Ms Farrenkopf was estranged from her family and did not answer her invitation to the wedding.

"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. Her mother hadn’t heard from her for years and years," he said.

Neighbours said the woman had family in Germany and would be gone for days or weeks at a time. When she was back home, she kept to herself, WXYZ reported.

“Nobody came over there to check on the lady. It's weird. And it's actually scary,” a neighbour who wished to remain anonymous told the local TV station.

Additional reporting by Reuters

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is looking for a Seco...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking f...

Primary Year 5 Teacher - Lambeth - September 2014

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates based on experience: Randstad E...

C# Client-Side Developer (JMS, Integration, WCF, ASP.NET, SQL)

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Client-Side...

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York