COSTA MESA, Calif. – A California woman who befriended a homeless woman and let her sleep in her car told police she didn't know where to turn when the woman unexpectedly died — so she drove the body around for months along with a box of baking soda to hide the smell, authorities said Thursday.
Officers with the Costa Mesa police found the unidentified body Monday after getting a call about a car partially blocking a driveway, Sgt. Ed Everett told The Associated Press. When officers arrived, they noticed a stench and saw a leg poking out from a blanket and some clothes, he said.
The partially mummified remains consisted of mostly skin and bones and weighed about 30 pounds, he said.
An autopsy showed no signs of foul play but police are still investigating the role of the car's driver.
The woman driving the car told police she met a homeless woman in a park in nearby Fountain Valley and told her she could sleep in her car, Everett said. But when the woman died in her car 10 months ago, she was afraid to go to the police, he said.
The woman who drives the car, a 57-year-old who herself had fallen on hard times and was living with friends, told officers she had last seen the woman alive in December. It wasn't clear when she discovered the body in the car, he said.
"She felt she would be accused of something and with everything going on in her life, she didn't want to deal with that," Everett said.
Police also found a box of baking soda in the car, which the driver had used to try to cover up the smell, Everett said.
The dead woman is believed to be in her 50s or 60s, with a first name of Signe.