In Pontiac, Michigan a woman’s death was hid for nearly six years as payments continued to go out of her bank account to cover the bills. Due to the woman’s schedule, which often included a lot of travel, no one knew she was dead. Her house had not been broken into, a neighbor continued to mow her grass to keep the yard neat and due to auto-pay her bills were covered.
Automatic bill payment is used by thousands of people all around the world. The positive side of auto-pay is it reduces paper clutter, saves users from continuously going to multiple payments sites and frees up memory for other things because they do not have to consider which bill to pay and when. On the flip side auto-pay blinds the user from unseen fees, over-payments and hikes in usage. This woman in Michigan has now revealed that a person’s death can go unnoticed due to auto-pay.
At some point during this time the woman’s bank account dried up and the bills were no longer being satisfied. Warning after warning from the bank went unanswered. Finally the bank holding the mortgage foreclosed on the woman’s home.
The woman, who law enforcement believes to Pia Farrenkopf, is of German descent and would have been 49-years-old if she were still alive.
Neighbors say they did not know much about Farrenkopf. She primarily kept to herself and neighbors never really heard anything from her. One neighbor reported that she would be home for a couple of days and then be gone for a week. Other times she would be gone for at least a month before returning home.
In 2007 police were sent to the house to check on the woman after a neighbor reported that Farrenkopf had not been seen for a while. Police saw no signs of anything strange so off they went.
No one in the neighborhood remembers seeing her within the last six years. They thought Farrenkopf had returned to Germany for extended periods of time. The Sheriff in the county reported that this woman’s employer had not seen her since September 2008.
Despite the many years void of an active owner the house showed no signs of abandonment. It was never broken into and the grass was kept up. The county sheriff said the inside of the home appeared to have black mold but few outward signs of anything strange were apparent. Since the post office was collecting her mail there was no pile up on the property.
Until this week no one noticed what occurred inside this woman’s garage. The bank sent a worker to the home to repair a hole in the roof when a strange discovery was made. Farrenkopt’s mummified body was sitting in the backseat of her car. The car was still parked in the garage with the key halfway into the ignition.
Authorities believe Farrenkopf has been dead for six years but do not know how or why. The cause of death has yet to be determined. The medical examiner said no signs of trauma to the woman’s body were found. Authorities are waiting for the toxicology report to be completed, which can take anywhere from four to six weeks, before the cause of death can be resolved.
The county deputy medical examiner, Dr. Bernardino Pacris, conducted the autopsy on Farrenkopt’s body. Pacris said the woman’s organs had decomposed although her skin was intact. As a deceased body is going through the mummification process the skin develops a leathery texture with parchment-like consistency according to Pacris. He also said finding a body in this condition is rare but once in a while they do see it.
A woman’s death in Pontiac, Michigan went unnoticed for six years while automatic bill payments continued to satisfy her bills. Pia Farrenkopf’s mummified body was found after her home foreclosed and the bank sent a worker to the house to make repairs. Mike McCabe, undersheriff of Oakland County, said in his 37 years of doing this he has never seen anything like this.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)