A South Philadelphia woman in whose basement police found the body of a teen mother who had been missing since September has been charged with abuse of corpse and other crimes.
Maddison Leidy, 25, also was charged Saturday with tampering with evidence, conspiracy, and related crimes after police discovered the body of 18-year-old Erin Schweikert inside a small storage space in the basement of the residence in the 2100 block of Porter Street.
Leidy was being held Monday at the Riverside Correctional Facility on $500,000 bail. She was on probation in connection with a 2014 robbery and simple assault.
There were no signs of trauma to the body, police said, and the Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to determine a cause and manner of death.
A call to Leidy’s residence was answered by Lucy Simpson, who owns the twin home and identified herself as the defendant’s grandmother.
“I’m not saying Maddison is innocent,” said Simpson, “but we had nothing to do with this.”
When asked about the odor that police said permeated the home and came from the teen’s badly decomposed body, Simpson said there was no smell.
Later, a man who declined to give his name but identified himself as another Simpson grandchild got on the line and said, “There was no smell.”
The man said that the home has an open layout, and that Leidy’s living quarters are in the basement. Her bedroom, he said, has two walled-off storage spaces, one behind the other. He said police found Schweikert’s body in the second.
He acknowledged that a neighbor had complained of a gas smell in October, and said the Gas Works investigated but did not find anything.
Schweikert, who lived in the 2300 block of Lee Street in South Philadelphia and had a toddler daughter, was last seen by her family Sept. 27, 2019.
Her body was found on Thursday, when sheriff’s deputies and officers with the Police Department’s Special Victims Unit went to Leidy’s home to arrest her on a probation violation. Police later said that the Special Victims Unit had gone along with deputies because they had received a tip that a missing 18-year-old woman might be inside.
Police did not respond to questions about Leidy’s relationship to Schweikert and did not say if any other arrests were expected. Four other people were taken into custody when Leidy was arrested Thursday. The status of all four was unclear Monday.
Meanwhile, friends who created a GoFundMe page to increase awareness about Schweikert’s disappearance and to raise money to hire a private detective to help find her have shifted their focus toward raising money for funeral expenses.