DETROIT — This will kill a real estate deal fast.
A man looking to buy a house in Detroit made a grisly discovery when he walked into the garage and found a mummified body behind the wheel of car parked there, police said.
The man made the terrifying discovery when he opened the door of a 1990 or 1991 Plymouth Acclaim that sat in the unused garage and found a very badly decomposed body behind the wheel, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Authorities said the body had been there “for years” and it was not immediately possible to even tell what gender it had been. Lloyd Jackson, a spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office said an anthropologist from the University of Michigan would be brought in to examine the remains.
“At this point, they don’t know if it’s male or female, or cause or manner of death or anything like that,” Jackson said. “That’s when the anthropologist comes in and checks it out. They didn’t do an autopsy, they just did an inspection because that’s usually what they do when they get these bodies that have been really badly decomposed or mummified.”
Police say the current renters of the home told investigators that they had never been inside the garage as the owner had told them they did not have access to it.
Police spokesman Dan Donakowski said investigators were in the process of contacting the homeowner.
“This is an open investigation and I know we’re going to do a thorough investigation on it, but we obviously have to find out what went on,” he said. “A lot of the investigation is going to be geared to the findings of the medical examiner’s office so we can actually see what happened and we’re going to go from there.”
The situation is reminiscent of the 1999 discovery by a new homeowner in Jericho, N.Y. of the mummified remains of a woman stuffed into an oil drum hidden a crawl space beneath his new home.
The investigation revealed that the woman had been an immigrant from El Salvador who worked for plastic flower company co-owned by Howard Elkins, who had owned the house 30 years earlier. She had had an affair with the married Elkins and eventually became pregnant with his child, so he killed her.
When investigators eventually approached Elkins, who had since retired to Florida, he committed suicide.