Local News

Inmate road crew finds body in Durham County

Posted June 30, 2010 12:13 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2010 4:16 p.m. EDT

— A state inmate road crew found a body in northern Durham County Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The inmates were cleaning up roadside litter along Old Oxford Road about a mile north of Snow Hill Road at about 9:45 a.m. when they spotted a large plastic bag, said Steve Abbott, spokesman for the Department of Transportation. Thinking it was an animal, they tried to collect it but found human remains inside the bag, he said.

Lt. Stan Harris with the Durham County Sheriff's Office said the body was found at the edge of the woods and was "definitely placed" there.

"We can say it's definitely not an accident. We'll be proceeding as a homicide," Harris said.

The body appears to have been there for several days, he said, and the decomposed state of the body makes determining the age, race and gender difficult.

The body has been sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill to determine the cause of death and possible identification.

"We've already put out our missing persons alerts, and we're starting to get some feedback on that," Harris said. "We're following leads the best we can."

Residents call the area of Durham County where the body was found "the flats." At night, they said, it gets very dark and very quiet, and investigators said it's not surprising that someone would try to dump a body there.

"You could do it. It's easy to do it, but whew, it's just a tragedy man," said Ronnie Perry, who was fishing nearby.