Wendell, N.C. — Authorities have found a body behind the Wendell home of a woman who has been missing since last summer, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Thursday.

Carolyn Sue Fox, 74, hasn’t been seen since July. Wake County Sheriff’s Office investigators began searching for her in October after a concerned friend asked deputies to check her home at 6524 Turnipseed Road.

Harrison said the partly decomposed body, which was found Wednesday afternoon, hasn’t been identified yet, but investigators have reason to believe it is Fox’s.

The body was buried about 3 feet underground in some woods just over the next-door neighbor’s property line, he said. It has been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for identification and to determine the cause of death.

Deputies searched the home Fox shared with her son, Stephen Owen Schrader, three times last fall, including bringing in cadaver dogs to check for human remains inside and outside.

Harrison said the dogs alerted several times during those searches, but nothing was strong enough to warrant further investigation. He declined to say what prompted Wednesday’s search, which also involved State Bureau of Investigation agents, technicians from the City-County Bureau of Identification and two forensic anthropologists from North Carolina State University.

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