Detective Sgt. Paul Beckman said Friday that the Orange County coroner's office identified the desiccated body after hydrating the tips of the fingers to get usable fingerprints. The office will not release the name until next-of-kin can be notified.
Costa Mesa police say a woman befriended the homeless woman and let her sleep in her car, but when she died overnight the car's driver was too afraid to go to police.
Authorities are determining whether the driver will face any charges.
Police found the body Monday when they noticed a stench while responding to a call about an illegally parked vehicle.