To the family of Arty Miller, it seems implausible that his decomposing body could have remained hidden in a house where up to a half-dozen people lived, without anyone knowing except the alleged killer.

And they ask why police, who visited the house a week ago, did not find the body before friends made the grisly discovery Saturday night in the top floor of the three-story corner home at Masters and Hancock Streets in West Kensington.

Police say the investigation is continuing. They also say that while the body - which was wrapped in a plastic bag and jammed into a 15-gallon plastic tub - might have been found sooner, it would not have changed the outcome.

Nicholas Lux, 21, who lives in the house, has been charged with beating Miller with a metal bar after Miller insulted Lux's mother and grandmother, detectives said. The two had been friends and Miller had been living in the house.

It was May 2 when Miller's mother, Princessa Miller, reported him missing after not seeing him for a week.

Standing yesterday outside the house, where one candle still flickered in a memorial on the stoop, Miller's uncle Harry McKeown said the family received numerous tips that the 18-year-old would be found at the stucco house.

He said relatives also recovered Miller's cell phone from another resident of the house.

Last Tuesday, police went to the house and conducted a walk-through search but found nothing.

McKeown said one of the residents had been a boyhood friend of one of the officers and that the officer accepted his explanation that the odor was due to a sick relative who had fouled herself and a dead rat somewhere in the building.

Capt. Benjamin Naish said that police detected a foul odor, but that it appeared to be caused by poor housekeeping and other cleanliness problems, not a decomposing body.

Also, he said, the officers did not have a search warrant or probable cause to obtain one.

Saturday night, friends of the family went into the house and found the green bag in the tub behind a section of drywall propped against a wall on the third floor, McKeown said.

They called police, and an officer confirmed that a body was inside.

McKeown said there was an angry standoff that night at police headquarters between the families of the victim and the accused.

"Everyone had to know," he said of people living in the house. "Now they're all out, laughing."

As McKeown spoke, a young man in a baseball cap jumped out of a car and walked to the shrine "to offer a prayer," he said.

Afterward, he said to McKeown, "Maybe we should tear this place down."

Contact staff writer Joseph Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or jgambardello@phillynews.com.