By Beth Dalbey
Pontiac, Michigan – How did the death of a woman go unnoticed for five years?
The answer appears in part to be that modern technology allowed the woman's life to continue on autopilot – even after she died. The mummified remains of a woman believed to be that of 49-year-old Pia Davida Farrenkoph were found in a Jeep in the attached garage of a Savannah Drive home.
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.
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