Her name was Pia Farrenkopf. Authorities haven't confirmed it yet through dental records, but it's fairly certain that the mummified remains found in a garage in Pontiac, Mich., this week are Farrenkopf's. She would have been 49 today, but the best guess is that she died in late 2008 in the back seat of her Jeep Liberty, parked in her garage, reports the Detroit Free Press. And there she remained all these years. Neighbors didn't know her well and presumed she had moved away during the recession. One of them cut the lawn in her absence. She had no husband or kids, and while police tracked down a sister in Boston, she couldn't shed much light on what happened.
"The woman who lived there had her personal finances, her utilities and mortgage, all on auto-pilot—bills deducted automatically until March 2013,” says the Oakland County sheriff. “That’s when the mortgage payments stopped and the foreclosure began. That’s what took this so long to come out.” Farrenkopf is believed to have moved to Michigan to take a job as a contractor with the now-defunct Chrysler Financial. She last showed up for work in September 2008. A few years earlier, she tried to start a health club called Slender Lady, but her company ended up more than $100,000 behind on rent, reports the Detroit News. Suicide? Police are skeptical because the key was in the off position, and there was gas in the tank. “For all we know, this person may have just been in the back seat looking for something and suddenly died for some reason," says the sheriff. "All of this is puzzling." (Read more Detroit stories.)