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Mummified body in car identified as homeless woman

October 22, 2010 |  6:10 pm

A mummified body found inside a parked car in Costa Mesa has been identified as a homeless woman from Fountain Valley, but authorities said they would not release her name until her relatives have been notified.

The decomposing body had been inside the car for up to 10 months, authorities said.

Police said they have not decided whether to seek criminal charges against a former real estate broker who apparently let the homeless woman sleep in her 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis and then failed to contact authorities after the woman died.

The former broker told authorities that the last time she saw the homeless woman alive was December, police said.

The body was discovered Monday night when a police cadet responded to a complaint of a parked car blocking a driveway. After detecting a strong odor coming from the car, the cadet called a patrol officer, who broke into the car and found the body under a pile of jackets and clothes in the passenger seat.

Police said they also found a box of baking soda nearby, apparently to reduce the odor.

-- Joseph Serna in Orange County

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