Bradenton woman hid man’s body in trash can to get his Social Security benefits

Published: December 10, 2020 10:25 AM EST
Michelle Haney (Credit: MCSO booking photo)

A Bradenton woman stuffed the body of a 40-year-old man into a trash can after he died to keep collecting his Social Security benefits, investigators said.

Michelle Haney, 48, was arrested Wednesday by Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies and is now facing charges of abuse of a corpse, news outlets reported.

Investigators said Haney told them Jon Christopher Leonard died in July of what appeared to be natural causes. His body was found in a trash can being stored at a neighbor’s home.

Haney and Leonard had been living together at the time. Instead of calling authorities, investigators said Haney stored Leonard’s body in a closet, before sealing it in a trash can three weeks later.

She then took the trash can to a neighbor’s house, and told the neighbor that she’d be back for it later. Investigators said the neighbor was apparently unaware of what was inside. He called authorities after he smelled an odor and opened the container.

Haney told investigators that she kept the body so she could continue receiving his benefits.

She remains in the Manatee County Jail on $7,500 bail.