Wendell, N.C. — Authorities said Monday that they have identified a body found last week buried behind a Wendell home as that of a 74-year-old woman who had been missing since last summer.

Carolyn Sue Fox, 74, hadn’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.

Her partially decomposed body was found last Wednesday buried about 3 feet underground in some woods just over the next-door neighbor’s property line, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

The cause of death still hasn’t been determined, authorities said.

Deputies searched the home Fox shared with her son, Stephen Owen Schrader, three times last fall, after her friends told authorities that she was afraid of Schrader and that he had been abusive toward her in the past.

Schrader, 53, hasn’t been charged in his mother’s disappearance, but a grand jury indicted him in October on charges of abuse of a disabled or elderly person resulting in serious injury, exploitation of a disabled or elderly person’s trust and obtaining property by false pretense.

He remains in the Wake County jail under a $200,000 bond.

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