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Manatee woman arrested for hiding man's body in trash can in order to get his Social Security benefits

Neighbor told deputies he was holding onto trash can for her
Michelle-Haney-kills-man-hides-body-in-trash-can.jpg
Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 14:32:42-05

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Deputies say human remains were found inside a sealed trashcan, but the man who called them was holding onto it for a neighbor.

Around 12:38 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, a resident of the Windmill Mobile Home Park called police "because he found something suspicious in another person’s trash can."

Deputies say the man told them he had been storing the sealed trashcan for a neighbor in his carport.

"The reporting party thought the sealed trash can contained that person’s personal items and was waiting for them to come back for it. After approximately 2 months, the resident decided to open the container and quickly noticed a foul smell," the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said in a press release.

According to deputies, they found a human body, in an advanced stage of decomposition wrapped up inside the 55-gallon trash can.

On Wednesday, December 9, detectives identified the body as Jon Christopher Leonard, 40. Detectives also arrested and charged Michelle Haney 48, with abuse of a dead human body.

Michelle-Haney-kills-man-hides-body-in-trash-can.jpg

According to detectives, Haney, who was living with Leonard at the time, found him dead inside their home.

Instead of calling the Sheriff’s Office, she stored his body in a closet, and then three weeks later put his body inside a sealed trash can and took it to a neighbor’s residence.

She told the neighbor, who was unaware of what was inside, that she’d be back to pick it up later. Police say she admitted to doing this to keep getting his social security benefits after he died. The cause of Leonard’s death is still being determined via autopsy.