PONTIAC (WWJ/AP) – Voting records are raising questions amid an investigation into the discovery of a woman’s mummified body in the garage of a foreclosed metro Detroit home.
The body found last Wednesday in Pontiac is that of Pia Farrenkopf — according to her sister, Paula Logan. Authorities investigating the case haven’t released her name, but they have said that the woman apparently died in 2008 at the age of 49.
According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, records show Farrenkopf as voting in the November 2010 gubernatorial election. Officials say, however, that it may represent an administrative error. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard says the information must be checked out.
Farrenkopf’s body was found March 5 in the back seat of her Jeep Liberty, parked in the attached garage of her home in the 1600 block of Savanna, near Walton Boulevard and Silver Lake Road in Pontiac. The discovery was made just after 5 p.m. by a contractor who was working at the home, which is going through foreclosure.
According to police, the electricity was still on in the house, but there was no heat. The home also has a large amount what appears to be black mold, police said, and is a HAZMAT situation.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the circumstances behind Farrenkopf’s death. An autopsy didn’t reveal any signs of trauma, police said, and a cause of death is pending. Investigators said the Jeep keys were in the ignition, which was in the off position — likely ruling out the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Neighbors described Farrenkopf as a German immigrant who generally kept to herself and traveled frequently for work, often for weeks at a time, so no one thought anything of her absence. Some said it was probably six years since they last saw the woman, while others just assumed she had moved.
Police say Farrenkopf lived in the home by herself and had all of her bills — including her mortgage and utilities — automatically withdrawn from her checking account. Once her account was depleted and the mortgage payments stopped, the home went into foreclosure. Mail also never piled up at the house because Farrenkopf apparently picked it up at the post office.
Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe told reporters that officers visited Farrenkopf’s home for a “wellness check” in 2007, but found “nothing out of the ordinary.” He said Farrenkopf was never reported as a missing person.
Investigators are awaiting toxicology results, which could take weeks, but are treating the woman’s death as a homicide.
An investigation is ongoing.
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