A mummified body has been found in a bath by US police who had been called out to a house burglary.

Neighbours around the home in Arizona called 911 after they reported seeing a person inside in the early hours of the morning.

A Bullhead City Police spokeswoman told Sky News when officers arrived, they came across a woman rummaging through property inside – and then found the body.

Locals told them they had not seen the homeowner, a 60-year-old woman, in about a year and had assumed she moved away.

Police believe the body is that of the homeowner, but are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner’s office.

It is not clear how long the body has been in the property, they said, but it was in a “natural mummified state”, which occurs when a corpse is exposed to very dry conditions that slow typical decomposition.

A cause of death is not clear, but the medical examiner’s office said foul play or criminal activity is not suspected, according to police.

The woman inside the home, Christine Lee Walters, 65, was arrested and charged with two counts of burglary.

Police allege she had also been in the house two days earlier and removed purses, bags and clothing of the victim in an attempt to sell it online.