October 23, 2010 in Nation/World

Corpse a passenger in car for months

Associated Press
 

COSTA MESA, Calif. – Medical examiners are conducting DNA tests and trying to obtain fingerprints to identify a mummified corpse that was driven around in the passenger seat of a car for months, a police spokesman said Friday.

The woman’s remains, discovered Monday in a car parked illegally in Costa Mesa, are little more than skin and bones and weigh 30 pounds, said police Sgt. Ed Everett.

The car’s driver befriended the homeless woman in a park in nearby Fountain Valley and told her she could sleep in the car.

When she found the woman dead in the passenger seat, she was afraid to tell police, Everett said.

The driver is a 57-year-old former real estate agent from Corona del Mar, an upscale beach community, who herself had fallen on hard times and was living with friends, he said.

Everett said medical examiners believe the body is that of a homeless woman who had been dead 10 months, based on the condition of the remains.

The driver has not been cited or arrested, although police are looking at whether she violated any health codes by knowingly transporting a corpse, Everett said.

The driver had placed a box of baking soda in the car to mask the smell.

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