A Philadelphia police spokesman yesterday said it was understandable that officers searching a Kensington home had failed to find the dead body that a relative later discovered.

Philadelphia police searched the home on May 8, after receiving anonymous calls that a dead body was inside.

But cops said they found nothing.

On Saturday night, a relative, Joseph Grone, entered the same house and found the decomposing body of 18-year-old Arty Miller, the victim's family said. Grone is Miller's cousin, relatives said.

Police charged Nicholas Lux, a 21-year-old occupant of the house, with murder.

Miller's family was angry that cops didn't find the body during their initial search, but public-affairs Capt. Benjamin Naish defended the department's actions.

"They couldn't do a thorough search as they would be able to with a search warrant," he said, adding that the house was in "disarray."

Family members said cops told them that the strong odor of decay in the house was a result of a broken portable toilet and a dead mouse.

Miller's body was found in a third-floor walk-in closet in Lux's bedroom, stuffed in a green trash bag, which was inside a 15-gallon blue container.

Investigators learned that a dispute ensued when Miller apparently "disrespected" Lux's mother and grandmother. Police declined to reveal further details.*