PONTIAC, Mich. — The family of Pia Farrenkopf, who lived alone at the Pontiac home where mummified remains were discovered last week, has created a Facebook page so friends and family can share stories of how they remember her.
Farrenkopf's niece created the page, called "Mummified in Michigan," which shows a picture of Farrenkopf from high school, wearing glasses with her hair partially pulled back.
"I entitled it 'Mummified in Michigan' because I knew you would be able to relate it with the headlines they are using in the news," Nina Logan, 19, explained in a post. "I do not like the name but I wanted the connection to be made with the story and this page. I wanted to draw those of you who were reading the story to this page so I could explain to you who Pia Davida Farrenkopf was."
The body found by a contractor who went to the foreclosed home on Savanna Drive has not been positively identified by the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office because no dental records have been located for Farrenkopf.
Logan, who is from the Boston area, said she last saw her aunt in 2006 when Farrenkopf visited. She described her aunt as kind, intelligent and loved.
"She was a very private person," said Logan, who is also Farrenkopf's goddaughter. "That's just how she liked to live her life."
Farrenkopf, who is believed to have been dead since at least early 2009, lived alone in the house she bought in 1999 and would go periods of time without talking to people, Logan said. She also frequently traveled for work, and her last job was as a contractor with now-defunct Chrysler Financial.
Relatives said they called Farrenkopf over the years, including when her sister died in 2007 and her mother died in 2012. They would leave messages, but didn't hear back.
"She could be gone for months at at time," Logan said of her job. "So you just kind of think that, at some point, you're going to hear from her or she just doesn't want to be bothered."
In 2007, the family called police to do a wellness check and was told there was nothing out of the ordinary found, Logan recalled. There was nothing to indicate that Farrenkopf was not OK years later, she said.
Neighbors have said the same thing. They thought Farrenkopf, who would be 49, had moved or was traveling. She didn't receive mail in her mailbox, had her bills automatically deducted from a bank account until the money ran out in March 2013 and a neighbor mowed the lawn, so there was little to raise suspicions.
But last week, mummified remains were found in the backseat of a Jeep parked in the garage.
Investigators have said there was no trauma to the woman's body, and the key was in the ignition, but partially out, adding to the mystery of what happened.
A withdrawal was made from the woman's bank account in February 2009, and investigators are in the process of getting information from her credit cards, medical records and cell phone, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.
They found out who her dental insurance carrier was, but the company didn't have records of any dental activity, which may have been purged because of the amount of time that has passed, he said.
The Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office asked any dentist who has treated Pia Farrenkopf to call its office.
"Our goal is to forensically identify the deceased woman as soon as possible so that her family can have closure and she can receive a proper and dignified burial," Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic said in a statement. "If we can acquire her dental records, we can identify her within a day of receiving those records."
The woman whose remains were found had quite a bit of dental work done, and without dental records, the office will have to collect DNA samples from Farrenkopf's relatives and send them to Texas for comparison, a process that could take months.
No cause or manner of death has been determined, and Logan said she doesn't believe her aunt would have committed suicide.
She asked anybody with information to come forward.
"She wasn't a nobody," Logan said. "She had a lot of friends. She had a lot of co-workers. There's got to be somebody that knows something."