Police Learn More About Mummified Woman

Costa Mesa police detectives are learning more about the 59-year-old woman found in a mummified state in the front seat of a car blocking a driveway 10 days ago.

Signe Margit possessed two master's degrees and had worked with special education students in Los Angeles County. She later filed for bankruptcy, moved between three states, disappeared from her last known residence in Laguna Hills, became homeless and befriended another down-on-her-luck woman who allowed Margit sleep in a car.

Joseph Serna gets the scoop for the Los Angeles Times.

Police Learn More About Mummified Woman
Illustration by Jay Brockman

Based on his scan of government records and interviews with detectives, here is what is known about Margit:

  • She held two master's degrees;
  • In 2001, she was issued a pre-intern teaching certificate for cross-cultural, language and academic development emphasis. That allowed her to teach children with emotional problems and mild to moderate learning disabilities in California;
  • She worked with special education students at Audubon Middle School in the Los Angeles Unified School District;
  • This decade, she lived in a dozen cities throughout California, Texas and Washington;
  • During this period, she filed for bankruptcy and appeared to have recurring money troubles;
  • She reported in court records that she owned a 1999 Toyota Corolla, some clothing, $50 worth of jewelry and not much else.

Margit met a 57-year-old real estate agent police have not identified in Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley. The agent, who used to live in Corona del Mar, was driving her ill father's 1997 Mercury Gran Marquis.

Feeling sorry for Margit, she invited Margit to sleep in the car. That was 10 months ago, and some time after that Margit died. The real estate agent was staying with a friend in Costa Mesa for a few days. That's where the Marquis was blocking a driveway, prompting the police to come out Oct. 18 and eventually discover Margit's corpse in the reclined front seat, under some clothing.

Police do not believe the real estate agent caused Margit's death or that any foul play was involved whatsoever. Detective Mike Cohen told Serna she was "very calm and very articulate" when talking about Margit's death.


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