Philadelphia police are investigating the death of what appears to be a woman whose remains were stuffed in a suitcase and left next to a dumpster at a Southwest Philadelphia housing project.

Police were called to the 2700 block of Ruby Terrace in the Bartram Gardens Houses about 4 p.m. Tuesday, after Housing Authority workers reported a strong odor coming the garbage collection area.

"It appears to be a female. I'm not sure of the age at this point," Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives told reporters at the scene.

The dumpsters had been emptied on Monday, but it was not known if the suitcase had been left there before or after that, Walker said.

The remains, still in the suitcase, were taken to the Medical Examiner's Office in University City, where pathologists will attempt to determine the cause of death and the identity of the person.