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How Disappearance of Mummified Woman Went Unnoticed

A woman living in the quiet southeast Michigan neighborhood banked online and put her mortgage, utilities and other bills “on auto-pilot” and kept to herself. No one noticed when she dropped out of sight.

A contractor who had been asked to plug a hole to prevent raccoons from entering the roof of a foreclosed house in Pontiac, MI, found the mummified body of a woman believed to be the owner in the attached garage. (Patch file photo)
A contractor who had been asked to plug a hole to prevent raccoons from entering the roof of a foreclosed house in Pontiac, MI, found the mummified body of a woman believed to be the owner in the attached garage. (Patch file photo)

It may be weeks before authorities can positively identify the woman whose mummified remains were found in the garage of a foreclosed home in Pontiac.

Even without an official identification, speculation around the southeast Michigan community is that the body found in a Jeep in the attached garage at the home on Savannah Drive is that of 49-year-old Pia Davida Farrenkoph, who lived there, online news sources are reporting.

Farrenkoph did her banking online and her mortgage, utilities and other bills were “all on auto-pilot” until the money in the account – more than $54,000  at one point – ran out in March 2013, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Friday after a briefing with his detectives, the Detroit News reports.

When the account was depleted, foreclosure proceedings began.

“This is a real mystery and I expect we will get to the  bottom of it, but it’s going to take more time,” Bouchard said.

Authorities think her body may have been in the back seat of the Jeep Liberty, which had tags that expired in 2008, for at least five years.

She previously had worked as a contractor for the now closed Chrysler Financial. The last time anyone remembers seeing her at work was in September 2008, the Detroit Free Press reports.

She also had created and registered a company, PIA77 Inc., which operated a women’s health club, The Slender Lady. That venture ended in 2005 when the landlord of the Waterford Township building where it was located sued her for failure to make rent payments in the amount of $101,441.

Residents in the quiet Pontiac neighborhood said Farrenkoph kept to herself, so they didn’t think anything about not having seen her. A neighbor tended to her lawn, Bouchard said, and neighbors assumed she was traveling, as she did frequently for months at a time. She spoke with a European accent, leading some neighbors to speculate that she was visiting in Germany.

Authorities think she moved to the area about 2003. When she dropped out of sight, some thought she had moved from the economically hard-hit Detroit area to California, where more jobs might be available.

Some neighbors thought the woman might have had a son, but didn’t know if they were on good terms,The Macomb Daily repots.

She lived alone and didn’t have a husband, children or pets living with her in Pontiac. She was reportedly estranged from family members living on the East Coast, including a sister in Boston.

“They haven’t communicated in years,” Bouchard said.

Authorities were hoping they might be able to tell them where she might have had dental work done so they could obtain record that would help them with assisting.

Pontiac resident Helen Cinqueranelli Kotwicki told the Macomb newspaper the details of bizarre case reflect growing isolation in American neighborhoods and are an unfortunate sign of the times.

“We no longer live in neighborhoods, but blocks," she said. "Most people are distrustful of their neighbors, so they don’t interact with each other as when I was growing up.”

What the dead woman was doing in the back seat of the Jeep Liberty is also a mystery. The ignition key was in the “off” position, and there was still fuel in the tank.

“All of this is puzzling,” Bouchard said. “If this was someone deliberately trying to end their own life you would think the key would have been left in the “on” position and the tank would have been drained.

“For all we know, this person may have just been in the back seat looking for something and suddenly died for some reason,” said Bouchard, who added that it’s unknown if she had any health problems.

The decomposed body was found Wednesday by a contractor hired by the property management company to make roof repairs after neighbors reported seeing raccoons trying to get in the house.

Inspectors had visited the house after foreclosure proceedings began, but did not enter the attached garage, Bouchard said.
Lisa Schultz March 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Very hard to believe that she didn't have at least one friend that missed her and would be looking.
sheila March 11, 2014 at 05:46 PM
I get that she paid her bills by auto pay. But everyone still gets junk mail, so not even the postal person could see that her mail box was filling up. & even if you have your grass cut & snow plowed, do people really give up there credit card # to all these different people? Something strange going on here. Oh yah She voted while she was dead.
LINDA J HARMON March 12, 2014 at 08:53 PM
One of your responders should move perhaps to Colorado! Joining the munchies group with legalizing of pot!
Stumpgrinder March 17, 2014 at 07:23 PM
Great
Rufus April 02, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Maybe she just got dressed after turning a trick in her backseat. The john is obviously long gone...

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