PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Countless pedestrians near Philadelphia’s main train station walked by a snow-covered sedan with dark windows and a slew of parking tickets before police this week found the body of a young mother inside.
Nadia Malik, 22, of Marple Township in southeastern Pennsylvania, had been missing for 11 days when her body was found lying face-down in the front seat Thursday, under a pile of clothes and a gym bag.
The gray 2007 Nissan Altima had been parked near a train station, although it had been towed there Feb. 14 by workers clearing a main artery after a snowstorm.
"Everybody says, ‘Why didn’t somebody see her,’" said Marple Township Police Chief Thomas Murray.
"She was kind of covered up pretty good in the car. Unless you were really peering into the car, you wouldn’t know she was there. The car had very deep tinted windows," Murray said. "So now the investigation goes from one of ‘Where is she?’ to ‘What happened to her?’"
Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker said an autopsy Friday showed "no visible sign of injury." He said officials are awaiting toxicology reports.
Malik had a volatile relationship with her boyfriend, Bhupinder Singh, who allegedly fled to his parents’ home near Cleveland, after visiting a relative in New York City.
The couple had two preschoolers, one of whom lives in Pennsylvania and the other with his family in Ohio, Murray said. They also had a baby who died of unknown causes in 2012. Delaware County detectives never closed the investigation into the death, and are revisiting it given Malik’s demise.
"I don’t know what the circumstances were, but a child is not supposed to die that young," Murray said.
Malik made calls to her brother and a friend on or about Feb. 9 to say Singh was holding her against her will, police said. They filed a missing persons report, and police later asked for the public’s help with the case. News articles that followed led to a tip about the car’s location.
Singh, 25, was arrested at his parents’ house in Solon, Ohio, on a parole violation, after trying to flee out the back of the residence, Murray said. Singh had traveled to Ohio by bus, after first going to New York City, police said.
Singh is to be extradited to Pennsylvania on Thursday. His prior record includes a second-offense drunken driving conviction, and arrests for assault, false imprisonment and making terroristic threats. A lawyer who once represented him on those charges did not immediately return a call Friday, and it was not clear if he currently has a lawyer.
Malik had taken some community college classes and had applied to transfer to Temple University this term. But she never enrolled, a spokesman said.
There was no obvious sign of foul play, Murray said.
"Somebody passing, if they looked closely enough, they would just see it as a pile of junk in the car. The body was not visible without really, really looking hard," he said. "And how many people do that?"