"I think there was foul play," says sister of woman found dead in her garage after six years

PONTIAC (WXYZ) - "I think there was foul play. I think someone might have been in that garage," said Paula Logan about the mysterious death of her sister Pia Farrenkopf.

While investigators are still trying to find dental records to identify the "mummified" body, it's believed to be Farrenkopf who, according to Oakland County Sheriff investigators, was last seen alive in September 2008.

Logan, who still lives in Massachusetts where they grew up, says her sister would have been 42-years-old at the time of her death, and she says Pia would not have taken her own life.

The body was discovered Wednesday by a contractor working for the mortgage company that had foreclosed on the property.

Neighbors thought Farrenkopf, a woman who traveled a lot and preferred to keep to herself, had just moved away. Some people in the neighborhood of well-maintained homes continued to care for Farrenkopf's lawn.

Logan says all of her siblings led rather separate lives and rarely kept in touch with each other. She admits that their mother, who passed away a few years ago, went about 30 years without talking to one of her children. 

Logan says Farrenkopf had a successful career in finance that took her to Germany and Switzerland. But she says Farrenkopf also liked her privacy.

When their mother and a sibling passed away, Logan says she called her sister over and over. And during a number of attempts to reach her sister over the years, the phone just rang and rang.

Logan could not have imagined that her sister had been dead in her garage for the past six years.

Farrenkopf told some of her neighbors that she had a son, but Logan says Farrenkopf never had children.

One neighbor tells 7 Action News that they never actually saw her son or knew his name, leading to speculation that Farrenkopf made it up.

Another mystery in the life of Pia Farrenkopf is a business she started - Slender Lady of Waterford.

It's not clear when she started the business that lists an address of 5046 Highland Road in Waterford. What's odd is that it doesn't appear that address even exists on Highland Road.

The address should place the fitness business inside of a strip mall, but the property manager says they have never heard of that business name or Pia Farrenkopf.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard says Farrenkopf worked as a contractor for a financing firm associated with Chrysler, but in September of 2008 she was laid off.

Co-workers who saw Farrenkopf her last day of work are the last people known to have seen her alive.

Approximately $54,000 was in Farrenkopf's bank account in 2008. Her bills were on auto-pay and her mail was being sent to a P.O. box.

When the body, that has not yet been positively identified as Farrenkopf's, was found in the backseat of her Jeep Wednesday, the keys were in the ignition, but in the off position.

Since January, Bouchard says contractors working for the mortgage company have been in and out of Farrenkopf's home. Some have been in the garage and even inside Farrenkopf's Jeep, but they never noticed the mummified body in the back seat.

We're told it's possible that because of the extremely cold temperatures, no unusual odor drew any attention.

Years ago, Logan says her sister was planning to marry a man from England, but he wanted Farrenkopf to quit her job. She refused and walked away from that relationship.

Logan isn't exactly sure what brought her sister, who has lived in Arkansas and Massachusetts, to Pontiac.

There were no obvious signs of trauma to the body.

Investigators are hoping toxicology tests will reveal how she died, but there's a chance we may never know because of the severe decomposition.

"If someone is poisoned, that would be in their blood and muscle," said Bouchard. "We don't have blood or muscle."

So far, no friends have come forward to shed any light on Farrenkopf's life. And with relatives that live such disconnected lives, they haven't been able to shed much light on the case either.

Logan is hoping someone will come forward with helpful information. "She had to have had a life."


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