Police last night charged a teenager with brutally murdering his 37-year-old mother two days after he reported her missing.

The 16-year-old boy was charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime and abuse of a corpse after he allegedly beat his mother with a hammer and a piece of a chair at the home they lived in on Jackson Street near 5th in South Philadelphia, said Homicide Sgt. Tim Cooney.

The teen had reported his mother, identified by neighbors as Rashida Anderson, missing on Saturday. The teen's name was not released.

The boy allegedly dragged his mother's bloody lifeless corpse into an alley filled with feces, wire and trash behind the home, and then tried to cover it up with debris, Cooney said.

Family members contacted police, who obtained a search warrant for the home and found a blood trail that led them to Anderson's body about 10 yesterday morning.

Neighbors described Anderson as a quiet, polite, well-dressed, hardworking woman who kept to herself.

She was a Jehovah's Witness, and neighbors said they would see her pastor stop by the home to pick her up.

They said that Anderson and her son often went to church together.

"She was a churchgoing woman, a very pretty girl," said Michael, 45, a neighbor.

Michelle, 47, a neighbor who did not give her last name and who said that she met Anderson over the summer when they worked for the Census Bureau, said Anderson lived in the red-brick rowhouse with her son for about 10 years.

Anderson also has a daughter in college.

"She said she had problems with him that had to do with school," Michelle said. "I assumed it was your usual problems with teenagers."

"You would see them together going places," Martha Curtin, 68, said of Anderson and her son. "She didn't bother with neighbors. She worked, took care of her boy and that's it."

In October, the South Philadelphia neighborhood mourned the death of 20-year-old Anthony DeMarco who was shot and killed a block away, and then the vandalism of nearly 60 vehicles the day of his funeral.

Police said the crimes were not related.

"It's a shame, it's sad for this street," Curtin said.

"Between that [DeMarco slaying] and the following week with all of the cars . . . I don't know what's happening here.

"This is the icing on the cake."