Local News

Remains recovered from under Fayetteville bridge

Posted July 18, 2008 11:56 a.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2008 9:50 p.m. EDT

— Crews on Friday recovered human remains that had been found a day earlier in a ravine below the Grove Street bridge.

A homeless man reported the smell and sight of remains under the bridge Thursday morning, police said.

Attempts to retrieve the remains from a 15-foot ravine were unsuccessful Thursday because dirt repeatedly caved in on the site as crews closed in, police said.

"It's just very dangerous," said Detective Tracey Bowman of the Fayetteville Police Department. "The walls are not straight down; they're concave. So, if you go too close to the edge, you're going to have a whole bunch of dirt coming down on you.

"That's why it's taken so long. It's for the firemen and rescue workers, for their safety," Bowman said.

The Fayetteville Fire Department's Collapse, Search and Rescue Unit shored up the walls of the ravine to gain access to the area.

Authorities were able to determine that the remains belonged to a white woman and had been in the ravine for about four days.

Police said the remains would be sent to the state medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill for a Saturday autopsy to determine a cause of death and to begin the identification process.

One inbound lane of the Grove Street was closed most of the day, and traffic was blocked from all four lanes for a short time at about 3 p.m. so a ladder truck could be brought to the scene.