Dismembered woman's body found in basement after tip about possible human trafficking

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, January 17, 2020
Dismemebered body found in South Philly basement
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What started as a warrant ended in a shocking discovery: a woman's body found inside a plastic bin at a home.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Officials with a sheriff's office and police department were serving a warrant and investigating a possible case of human trafficking Thursday night when they discovered a woman's body in a plastic bin.

Authorities said the body, found in the basement of a home, was decomposing and partially dismembered.

Investigators are working to determine the identity of the woman.

Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said her office, along with the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims Unit, worked in tandem to serve a robbery warrant at the home.

"When we work together, we get things done," Bilal told reporters late Thursday.

According to the sheriff, SVU's Human Trafficking Unit had received a tip about possible human trafficking at the home. They were searching for a missing young woman.

"They were looking for a missing female who was approximately 18-years-old," Bilal said.

Once at the scene, authorities found five people: three males and two females. Some lived at the home, according to Bilal.

Bilal said one of the females was listed on the robbery warrant. The female and the four others were taken into custody.

Authorities discovered the body of the woman in a plastic bin in the basement.

Bilal said it's too early determine if the body belongs to the missing 18-year-old woman SVU was searching for.

"We have a deceased female approximately that age, but she is a Jane Doe until she's identified," Bilal said.