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Mummified body found in Detroit garage

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

A “mummified” body that was found Thursday afternoon in a garage in Detroit will be examined next week by an anthropologist to try and determine a host of factors including gender and cause of death, Wayne County officials said Friday.

The discovery, police say, happened around 1 p.m. when a potential home buyer was inspecting the garage of a home in the 19900 block of Spencer. The body was in the backseat of a 1990 or 1991 Plymouth Acclaim, authorities said.

Lloyd Jackson, a spokesman for Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office, said officials estimate that the body had been there for “years” and was beyond the decomposition stage when “the body is brown.”

Jackson said medical examiners just “inspected” the body and will await the arrival next week of an anthropologist from the University of Michigan, which partners with the county, who can conduct special tests, such as examining hip bones to determine gender.

“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.”

Detroit Police spokesman Dan Donakowski said officers were called to the location after the body was discovered. The home, he said, was being rented to a family and did not use the garage.

The potential homeowner “opened up the car door and observed this decomposed body inside,” Donakowski said. “We talked to the current tenants of that location and they were told that the actual homeowners had said basically don’t go in the garage, don’t put anything in the garage.”

Donakowski said there is an ongoing investigation and that the homeowner will be contacted.

“I know 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.”

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