Human remains found in a landfill on Monday are believed to be those of a North Carolina woman who went missing in late January while “dumpster diving,” the Burlington Police Department said.
Stephanie Cox, 30, was reported missing to the Greensboro Police Department on January 30. Her vehicle was found unattended in a service drive behind a row of businesses in Burlington, and police determined the vehicle had not been reported stolen.
After an investigation, police said they believed Cox was attempting to collect things from a dumpster shortly after midnight and that she did not exit the dumpster prior to its being serviced at 1:47 a.m. According to the police, Cox’s family said that it was not uncommon for her to collect items from dumpsters.
A review of associated video shows that she arrived alone and that no one else was on the property until the garbage truck arrived to service the dumpster, police said.
“This case brings to light the dangers associated with collections from dumpsters,” Burlington Police said. “The commonly known practice of ‘dumpster diving’ is not safe.”
Police believed the contents of that dumpster were taken to Uwharrie Environmental, a landfill in Montgomery County.
Remains that are believed to be Cox were found there on Monday at about 5 p.m. Police say Uwharrie Environmental is cooperating with the investigation. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is working with local and state medical examiners to confirm the identification.
“Other factors such as clothing have assisted in this process,” Burlington Police assistant chief Brian Long said. “We are confident that Ms. Cox has been located.”