Mummified Human Torso Found By Michigan Homeowner Renovating Their Basement

Mummy, Detroit
File Photo: The skyline of Detroit, Michigan, is pictured. Getty Images

A homeowner renovating a property in west Detroit, Michigan, got a shock Wednesday afternoon when they discovered a mummified human torso in the basement.

The small torso was so decomposed that investigators don't yet know how long it had been there. Police said the sex of the person remains unknown, but they suspect the torso is female, The Associated Press reported.

Commander Brian Mounsey said the property has been empty since its purchase as an investment two years ago. Police think the torso was probably already in the basement when the home was bought.

The owner called police at 1.17 p.m. after uncovering the remains. Police collected the torso from a bar area of the basement of the home. According to The Detroit News, it is currently being examined by investigators.

Detroit Police did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Last May, the mummified remains of a woman in her 70s were found in her apartment in Valencia, Spain. The woman had gone missing roughly four years before she was found.

An eagle-eyed neighbor spotted her legs after noticing the same clothes had been hanging outside her apartment for some time.

That June, police in Kolkata, India arrested a leathermaker suspected of storing his mother's body in a commercial freezer for more than three years. At the time, police accused the man of using chemicals to prevent her mummified body from decomposing.

Investigators suspected the man was withdrawing money from his mother's pension account, which cannot be accessed after a person's death.

Later that summer, scientists in Poland published a world-first study of a mummified human corpse adopted as a woodland home by bees, squirrels and other creatures.

"No one before us had the opportunity to describe a case of nesting of these species of animals inside a human corpse found in a tree," study author Marcin Kadej from the Institute of Environmental Biology, University of Wroclaw, Poland, said at the time. "[The discovery] brings a new perspective and gives us new information on the behavior, ecology and biology of these animals."

Last autumn, scientists examined the mummified remains of a woman stored in an iron coffin for more than 150 years. Discovered by construction workers in Queens, New York, back in 2011, the subsequent scientific investigation was recorded in a PBS documentary.

The well-preserved body—still dressed in socks and a gown—showed evidence of smallpox infection. "The results do not conclusively verify the hypothesis of smallpox as the cause of death. However, visual inspection cast little doubt on this hypothesis," scientists wrote in Emerging Infectious Diseases.