Mummified woman found at home in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - The naturally mummified body of a woman was found at her Buenos Aires home by a neighbour who had not seen her for more than 10 years, police said on Friday.

Her remains, with skin tissue preserved by drying, were being studied to determine the time and circumstances of the death of Maria Cristina Fontana, who was born in 1953.

Fontana is believed to have died at age 51 of complications from an aneurysm that had been operated on in 1990, the coroner's office said.

The woman, who lived in the lower unit of a house split into apartments with separate entrances, was on medication and disabled, forensic data showed.

"But we were all shocked because no family ever reported her death and no one ever spoke of an unusual smell. Nobody knows anything, it's a mystery," the building porter told TN television.

The process of natural mummification can occur in hot, dry climates.

The body was found by neighbour Marcela Calvete, who entered the apartment believing it was uninhabited and with the intent of claiming property rights by vacancy.

In January, another mummified corpse was found at a home in Buenos Aires.

The home's owner, who was also found dead, was a man who had lived for a decade with the corpse of his mother, installed on a chair in the kitchen of their home.

The elderly woman was wrapped in a sheet, whereas her 58-year-old son had been dead for about a month before his discovery by police after neighbours reported a foul smell.

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