Wake County sheriff's deputies say human bones were scattered across a 75-foot area, marked now by yellow flags. Duct tape was found nearby, which may indicate the body was tied up in some way.
Sheriff's deputies may already have a lead in identifying the body. After studying missing persons reports, they are focusing on one man.
"We had narrowed it down yesterday to a couple," said Maj. Danny Bellamy. "Right now we've got one that we're looking at stronger than the other ones. We feel like it's possibly the deceased, and we're trying to get the dental records to have those checked to identify the body."
The State Bureau of Investigation is also examining the duct tape and clothing that was left behind.
The man they believe it could be has been missing since April.
Officials are investigating the case as a homicide.
Isiah Clark, who lives in the area, found the skeleton Tuesday while he was walking with his dogs.
Clark says he could not believe what he saw.
"There was a sock there, so I picked it up and shook the bones out, and I saw it was human," Clark said.
He believes a body was once duct taped to a tree and left to decompose.
"The remains had been dragged by animals coming up the hill," Clark said. "As I came up the hill, that's when I found the lower jaw bone and I flipped it over. That's when I saw it was human teeth."
"I saw duct tape around a pine tree, and that's what made me really suspect that it was human," Clark said. Not many people live on the dirt road, but those that do live nearby know the area well. Clark says that to take someone down through the woods, you have to know where you are going, which is a well-kept secret among neighbors.
"I call myself the neighborhood watch, but I'm lucky I missed that," Clark said. Reporters: Barbara CainandEricka Lewis