A worker clearing land behind Fellowship Baptist Church, on Arrington Bridge Road near Goldsboro, found skeletal remain on Nov. 23.
The remains were sent to the state medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill to determine the cause of death and for help with the identification.
Authorities on Friday identified the remains as those of Genesis Bruce Lewis, who had been reported missing to the Goldsboro Police Department in January 2004.
The last known address for Lewis was the 1400 block of South John Street in Goldsboro, and authorities said he was known to wander fields and ditches searching for and collecting items he believed valuable.
The cause of death hasn't been determined, but authorities said there was no sign of foul play.