Mummified Michigan Woman ID'd

But cause of death still a mystery for woman who died in 2009

By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 21, 2014 10:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pia Farrenkopf had a poodle named Baby and a cat named Bungee, had traveled the world, and—though estranged from family and friends—was described as kind and private. And now, DNA has positively identified Farrenkopf as the mummified body found in the backseat of her Jeep in March. “This has brought some closure for our family, knowing we may finally lay Pia to rest,” says a message posted to Facebook on July 15. However, officials still don’t know how Farrenkopf died, MLive.com reports—her badly decomposed body was missing the heart, liver, and lungs, which are usually used to determine cause of death, and mummified muscle didn’t yield any results in a toxicology test, the Oakland County Deputy Medical Examiner explains to the Detroit Free Press.

“The possibility of hypothermia or any drug or chemical intoxication cannot be ruled out,” he says. Though the death was treated initially as a homicide, investigators have found no evidence that the Pontiac, Michigan, woman—who would have turned 50 this year—was murdered, the Times Herald adds. Her assumed time of death has been pinned down, however, by subpoenaing bank, health, and phone records, which indicate she died in early 2009. Reuters reports that investigators also found out Farrenkopf was seen alive in early 2009. She’d stopped working in 2008 and, following her death, her bills were paid automatically; the money ran out last year, eventually leading to her discovery.

In this March 7, 2014 file photo police tape surrounds a home in Pontiac, Mich., where the mummified body of a woman was found in the garage.
In this March 7, 2014 file photo police tape surrounds a home in Pontiac, Mich., where the mummified body of a woman was found in the garage.   (AP Photo/Detroit News, Daniel Mears, File)
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