A Texas mother of two, who vanished three weeks ago after doorbell camera footage showed her rushing out to work without her cellphone, has been mysteriously found dead in the front passenger seat of her car, police said on Monday. Christina Lee Powell, 39, was found dead on Saturday night in her car parked in front of a strip mall four miles from her home.
Police said there were no apparent signs of trauma on Powell's body but only an autopsy can determine her official cause of death. It wasn't immediately clear when Powell died. An investigation has been launched and police are yet to determine if there is foul play involved in her death.
Mysteriously Found Dead
Powell's body was discovered on Saturday night after a security guard raised an alarm after he noticed a "foul odor" coming from inside a Nissan Rogue parked outside the Huebner Oaks Center. The mall is barely four miles from her home, police said.
The security guard then approached the back of the car after realizing that the vehicle had been parked at the same spot outside the strip mall for more than a week. Realizing that something was wrong he called up the authorities.
"He looked inside the vehicle and observed a body in the front passenger side seat and called 911," police said.
Police arrived on the scene a few minutes later and Powell's body was discovered at around 6:45 pm on Saturday. Police said, her body had no obvious signs of trauma but they haven't ruled out a foul play angle.
Powell was discovered alone and the car's windows were completely locked, a law enforcement source told Fox News. Last week, San Antonio experienced daily highs over 100 degrees.
It wasn't immediately clear when Powell died. Her body has been sent for autopsy to determine the exact cause and time of her death.
Police said that it was almost impossible to identify Powell's body. She was positively identified by the police only after her purse and ID were discovered inside the vehicle.
Mystery Shrouds Death
Powell's workplace at Sanchez & Wilson, a law company that deals with situations like wrongful dismissals and personal injury, is situated along the same section of interstate as the shopping mall where she was discovered.
Powell's office is just eight minutes' drive from where her body was found. Users are greeted by a statement on the law firm's website asking for information regarding Powell's disappearance.
Claudia Moble, Powell's mother, announced her daughter's passing on Facebook on Monday, writing: "My beautiful daughter, Christina Powell, has been found, deceased. I am heartbroken. Thank you all for your prayers."
Powell was last seen on July 5 after she left home to head to her paralegal job, her family had said at that time. Since then, she has been missing.
Doorbell camera footage showed her hurriedly leaving the house around 10:30 am. She was seen going out of her home leaving her phone and Apple Watch behind. The home's other resident, Moble, said that her daughter had called her workplace to inform them that she would be arriving late.
When Powell didn't show up at the office a few hours later, a colleague went to her house, according to Moble. "I felt like she was going, I believed she was going to work â and I think she felt like she was going to work," Moble told Fox News soon after she reported Powell missing.
Powell hadn't said anything remarkable to her mother before she left, Moble had said that time, and nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
However, Powell's family members reportedly informed authorities that before she vanished, she got into a fight with the father of one of her kids. He is cooperating with the inquiry, according to investigators, and is not a person of interest, investigators told Fox News.
Powell's Facebook profile photo includes a badge raising awareness about domestic violence. The paralegal's two kids are 12 and 3 years old. Powell was a New Haven, Connecticut native, per her Facebook page.
Powell's mother made her initial plea for assistance on July 23, stating that her daughter had left the apartment they shared on July 5 for work and had forgotten her cell phone and medication.