Philadelphia police homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of two bodies in separate parts of the city in the last two days.
A man’s body was found Wednesday wrapped in plastic in a rowhouse in Philadelphia’s Spring Garden neighborhood.
A day earlier, partly skeletonized remains were found in a suitcase next to a dumpster at the Bartram Village housing project in Southwest Philadelphia. Although preliminary reports suggested the body was that of a woman, Capt. John Ryan, commander of the Homicide Unit, said Wednesday that he could not confirm the victim’s age, race, or gender.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Ryan said that a building owner on the 1900 block of Mount Vernon Street found the body of a man wrapped in a blue tarpaulin in a front bedroom about 9:40 a.m. Police initially said the man was 47, but Ryan later told reporters that investigators were not certain of his age and were waiting on a report from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Ryan called the death “suspicious” but said that without knowing a cause or manner of death, it was too early to determine whether foul play was involved. He said that the body appeared to be decomposing, and that “clearly [the victim] didn’t do it himself.”
Meanwhile, the body found in the suitcase Tuesday was being examined at the Medical Examiner’s Office. Speaking earlier Wednesday, Ryan said his team would compare that office’s report to a list of missing people and would review surveillance footage from the housing complex.
As of Wednesday morning, Ryan’s team was treating that death as “suspicious,” but they had not yet ruled that case a homicide either.
“Human remains in a suitcase, that’s not someone that died of natural causes,” he said, adding that the body “in all likelihood” had been brought from elsewhere.
There’s nothing new about outsiders dumping trash at Bartram Village, said Tony Miles, 58, who grew up there and visits his 16-year-old daughter there every day.
“People throw all kinds of stuff,” said Miles.
A Medical Examiner’s Office spokesperson said Wednesday that the investigation into the body from the suitcase was ongoing and that the office had not yet received the second body.
Staff writer Chris Palmer contributed to this article.