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Woman whose mummified body was found in Costa Mesa car held two master's degrees, once worked for LAUSD

October 28, 2010 |  8:12 am

When Costa Mesa police first discovered the body of Signe Margit last week in an illegally parked car, she was a mystery woman with no name. They knew she had been homeless, befriended by a local real estate agent, and little else.

Margitserna But what has emerged over the last several days is the story of a highly educated woman who had fallen on hard times. Family members told police that Margit, 59, held two master's degrees and was working with special education students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The two women met last year at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley and were unlikely acquaintances. One was a Costa Mesa real estate agent, the other a homeless woman who frequented the park.

The real estate agent allowed the woman to sleep in her father's old sedan.

But sometime in the last 10 months, the homeless woman died in the car. And for reasons that Costa Mesa police are still trying to determine, the real estate agent decided not to report her death to authorities. Detectives said she drove the car with the corpse covered with clothing in the passenger's seat. She used baking powder to reduce the smell.

Police discovered Margit's body last week when officers responded to a report of a car parked illegally on a Costa Mesa street. When they approached the vehicle, they were overpowered by a strong odor. When they looked inside, they spotted a leg underneath clothing in the front passenger seat.

Read the full story here: "Portrait emerges of woman whose mummified body was found in car."

-- Joseph Serna

Photo: Signe Margit. Credit: Costa Mesa Police Department