MUMMY MYSTERY: New information on body found in Pontiac garage after 6 years

(WXYZ) - 7 Action News has new information in a "mummified mystery" in Oakland County. 

The body of a woman was found in the back seat of a Jeep inside a garage that may have been there 6 years. 

The body is badly decomposed.  The only parts that remain are hair, bones, teeth and the skin is hardened. 

"We may never have the forensics or the kind of information that we can say for 100% this is what happened," Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard tells 7 Action News. 

Even a positive identification of the body is a challenge.  A recent public plea and a search of health insurance history could not turn up dental records.  The body is tentatively identified as Pia Farrenkopf who owned the house where the body was found. 

Family and friends have been waiting for 3 weeks for answers.  Family lives out of state.  Two sisters' DNA will be compared to the body, but those results will take months. The body is being held inside the cooler of the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office with an ID of unknown woman 14-2.

7 Action News Investigator Jim Kiertzner talked Dr. Bernardino Pacris of the M. E. Office, "If a family member were to come and you showed them her, would they be able to recognize her? I don't think so.  It would be hard even for family members to recognize.  She's beyond recognition?  Correct." 

Doctor Pacris also says, "most probably the case will be undeterminable, undeterminable."

Investigators have established money in Pia's bank account ran out, but was automatically paying all of her bills.  She was found when the bank foreclosed on the house and sent someone there to check the condition of it.  The last call made on Pia's cell phone, found next to the body in the back seat was February of 2009.  The number she called is disconnected.  No other leads there. 

The key was still in the ignition of the Jeep inside the garage, some gas still in the tank.  But get this, a year ago another person checking on Pia and the house did enter her Jeep in the garage, turned the key in the ignition to check the mileage. 

The battery was dead.  He did not notice the body laying in the back seat.  Most important: he does not remember today if he found the key was originally in the off, or engine running position.  "More than likely that brings the conclusion she moved herself into the back seat on a voluntary basis," Sheriff Bouchard tells 7 Action News. 

There are no signs of forced entry or any other foul play.  Records showed Pia voted in 2010 but the poll books that would have her signature were not required to be kept.  "We believe that was a clerical error.  If you look historically, she never voted," says Sheriff Bouchard.

Neighbors say they saw a younger man at her home in years past thought to be a son or male friend. 

"No information that leads us she had a child.  She had a relationship years ago, but none at the time," says Sheriff Bouchard.

The isolated life is what Pia chose and worked.  She could be gone even out of the country for months.  Neighbors moved her snow and mowed her grass.  Mail went to a post office box.  Her job was well-paid working in a financial arm of Chrysler.  That ended in the fall of 2008.  More mystery?  Was she laid off, fired or resign?  "We have established that.  To the extent we can share that is a work in progress," says Sheriff Bouchard.

"She's very kind.  And we've tried to stress when we get out there, she's a very private person," says Nina Logan who lives in the Boston area.  She set up a FaceBook page titled Mummified in Michigan that asks anybody here with information to come forward.  And it has become a place to vent. 

Nina writes, "She was well loved by all of her family and though we lost contact, that was due to the amount of traveling she had to do for work and the fact that she liked her privacy.  We believe this was a murder and we want answers."

So do investigators.  But, they may never be found. 

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