Florida woman hid body to keep Social Security checks coming, sheriff’s office alleges

BRADENTON, Fla. (TCD) — A Florida woman was arrested after a neighbor found a dead body in a trash can on his property, authorities said Wednesday.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report from a resident at the Windmill Mobile Home Park about a dead body found in a trash can on the property at about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The resident said he had been storing another person’s trash can in his carport on Windmill Manor Lane for at least two months. The man said he believed the sealed 55-gallon drum contained personal items, and after waiting for the other person to retrieve it, he opened the container and noticed a foul smell.

Investigators said a human body in an advanced state of decomposition was wrapped up inside the container. The body was identified Wednesday as 40-year-old Jon Christopher Leonard. Autopsy results were pending.

Michelle Haney, 48, told detectives she found Leonard, whom she lived with, deceased inside their residence in the mobile home park in July.

She allegedly stored Leonard’s body in a closet, and three weeks later put his body in the trash can, sealed it, and took it to the neighbor’s residence, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s investigators. She reportedly told the neighbor she would return to pick up the container later.

Haney reportedly admitted to hiding Leonard’s body so she could use his Social Security benefits after he died, according to the sheriff’s office. Michelle Haney was arrested and charged with abuse of a dead human body, and further charges were expected.