The mummified body of a writer was found in her New Mexico home last week, and authorities believe it's possible she's been dead for up to a year.
Barbara Salinas-Norman was known for her children's books, which she wrote and illustrated to help Mexican-American kids learn about their heritage. She also founded and ran a publishing company, Pinata Publications. However, her last days were most likely sad ones. Friends say she'd had the power and water cut off in her condo due to non-payment of her bills and sometimes slept in her car. When her brother-in-law and sister made a visit last week out of concern, they found her home in complete disarray.
"If you saw the apartment, you would never walk inside it," Louis Ponce said. "I never knew anybody could be that filthy."
The 70-year old author and former teacher was found mummified due to the extreme dry heat in New Mexico; authorities aren't sure about the time of death, but say it could have been as far back as October.
"This woman looks like a mummy, essentially," Santa Fe police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt said. "All of her skin has dried out. You could see the skeleton underneath. There were no body fluids anymore."
Autopsy results are pending.