A body found decomposing in a South Philadelphia twin was identified Friday as that of a teen mother last seen by her family and friends in late September.
Philadelphia police said Friday there were no apparent signs of trauma on 18-year-old Erin Schweikert, whose severely decomposed body was found at 4:45 p.m. Thursday in the basement of a home on the 2100 block of Porter Street by sheriff’s deputies and members of the Police Department’s Special Victims Unit. Friday’s police update corrected earlier information given by the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office that the body had been dismembered.
Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter told reporters Friday morning that the house had a strong odor that would be impossible for anyone inside to ignore.
The cause and manner of death were still undetermined, police said.
On Oct. 18, the Police Department issued an alert asking for the public’s assistance in locating Schweikert, who was last seen at 12 a.m. Sept. 27 on the 2300 block of South Lee Street. Friends started a GoFundMe page to increase awareness about her disappearance and to raise money to hire a private detective to help find her.
“Her family has not lost hope of finding her, however with each passing day the agony of not knowing where she is or if something has happened to her is agonizing for everyone that knows and loves her,” read a message posted on the GoFundMe page, which was organized by family friend Christine Day.
“Erin is not familiar with the streets. It is out of character for her to just leave and not be heard from,” the message said. Now, friends have created a GoFundMe for funeral expenses.
Schweikert, who lived on South Lee Street in South Philadelphia and was active on social media, had three Facebook pages. Many of the pictures featured her with her toddler daughter or striking playful glamour poses.
A woman who responded to a knock at the rowhouse where Schweikert and her daughter lived with her family said they did not want to comment at this time.
Neighbors on the typical South Philly block were in tears when asked about the 18-year-old they watched grow up.
“She was like a little sister to me,” said James Cacciatore, 21.
“It’s a shame that it had to be like this,” he said. “I always had hope that maybe she would show up one day."
Cacciatore remembered being with Schweikert at the parade for the Eagles’ 2018 Super Bowl win and lifting the 5-foot-tall brunette up onto his shoulders so she could see above the crowds.
He described his friend and neighbor as very talkative and outgoing, but said he fears that she might have “got caught up in the wrong crowd."
His grandmother, Jeannet Hurley, 71, who lives on Lee Street, said she remembers Schweikert and other kids from the block running in and out of homes on the block during the summers.
“These kids all ran around together. I mean, this is South Philly,” Hurley said.
“The street is just so quiet tonight,” she added, while looking toward Schweikert’s home.
On Thursday, sheriff’s deputies had gone to the twin on Porter Street to arrest Maddison Leidy, 25, who lived at the address, on a warrant in connection with a robbery. Officers with the police Special Victims Unit had gone along with sheriff’s deputies because they had received a tip that a missing 18-year-old woman was inside.
After the body was discovered, Leidy and four other people who were in the house were taken into custody for questioning, authorities said.