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Report of Foul Smell Leads Police to Woman’s Body in Car

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TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A badly decomposed woman’s body discovered Saturday in the trunk of a car parked near the beach in Old Town may be the corpse of an Anaheim woman missing for months, police said.

Police found the body after neighbors noticed “a foul smell,” coming from the car parked in the 1400 block of Electric Avenue, Seal Beach police Lt. Kenneth Mollohan said.

“When we opened the trunk there was a deceased female. There is no reason for people to be worried,” Mollohan said. “I think it’s just a body dump.”

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The body may be that of a 20-year-old woman last seen in the same car who was reported missing “several months ago,” Anaheim police said.

The car with the body still inside the trunk was towed to Santa Ana. Authorities said they were unsure Saturday how the woman died, and are withholding her name until they notify relatives.

Neighbors said the forest green Honda Civic had been parked on the quiet street for about two weeks. A ticket had been resting on its windshield for days, neighbors said.

“You could notice the smell,” said Jim Davis, who lives in an apartment just steps from where the car was parked. “At first we thought it was reclaimed water from the sprinkler system. The other night when it was real hot, we thought it was a skunk. Then, we thought it might be somebody’s garbage turned over. It sort of just dawns on you after awhile what it could really be.”

A car alarm sounded when officers opened the trunk after several hours of trying. Using a yellow tarp, they tried to shield the decomposed body from dozens of onlookers, including several children riding bicycles.

Times Staff Writer Kimberly Sanchez contributed to this report

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