Local News

Missing Woman's Remains Believed Found In Harnett County

Posted September 1, 2006 10:43 a.m. EDT
Updated December 31, 2006 10:33 a.m. EST

— Human remains discovered in Harnett County Friday afternoon are believed to be those of a Wendell woman missing for 10 days, police said.

Cynthia Moreland, 48, was last seen early Aug. 22 when she dropped her husband off at work. She pulled her car into a downtown Raleigh parking garage a short time later and hasn't been heard from since, although her abandoned car was found the next day in southeast Raleigh.

The remains, which haven't yet been positively identified, were found in the woods behind an abandoned house off Cane Mill Road, about three miles east of Coats.

The body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for identification and to determine a cause of death. Authorities said they are fairly certain it's Moreland, but they declined to be more specific.

"That is a tragedy, (to) walk around there and see some poor soul lying there. That's the most awful tragedy I've ever seen in my life," said Gladys Barefoot, who made the gruesome discovery with her husband, Everett, while they were looking for firewood. "I just reckon God just meant for me to find her."

"Whoever done it, they are just plum dirty about doing it. I don't know why such people would do such as that," Everett Barefoot said.

Friends and family gathered at the Moreland house to offer support. They had been planning to mount searches Saturday across the area.

Shortly before getting the news that police believe his wife's body had been found, Walter Moreland told WRAL his only fear was that she would be found in the open.

"She could be in an abandoned building. I just hope we don't find her out in the woods somewhere," Walter Moreland said.

The family declined to comment after hearing about the investigation in Coats.

Antonio Chance, 29, of Garner, tried to use Moreland's debit card at a Raleigh discount store shortly after her disappearance, police said, and has been charged with kidnapping in the case. There was no word late Friday on whether other charges were pending against him.

Moreland's disappearance has prompted the city to adopt tighter security at downtown parking garages, including reassigning officers to patrol the decks in early mornings and evenings and installing more security cameras.