While authorities are still working with medical examiners to reach a positive identification, Burlington police said they believe the body belongs to 30-year-old Stephanie Cox, who was first reported missing by family members on January 30.
While official identification is pending with the medical examiner, police say they have reason to be confident that the remains are indeed Cox's.
Stephanie Cox, 30, was reported missing to police in Greensboro, North Carolina by her family on January 30. Her vehicle was found unattended in a service drive behind a row of businesses in Burlington, and police determined the vehicle had not been reported stolen.
Her family told police that she was accustomed to "dumpster diving".
Surveillance video from the shopping mall revealed the grim sequence of events. Investigators believed that the garbage truck took the contents of the dumpster to Uwharrie Environment, located about 80 miles north of where the dumpster was located.
"This case brings to light the dangers associated with collections from dumpsters".
"A review of all associated video never shows others on the property until the truck arrived to service the dumpster", said a statement from police.
After an investigation, police said they believed Cox was attempting to collect things from a dumpster shortly after midnight and that she did not exit the dumpster prior to its being serviced at 1:47 a.m. They think she was there because she was dumpster diving.
When crews starting looking again on February 10, they located Cox's remains.
'She had the best sense of humor & was always there with positive encouragement when her friends needed her, ' Cox's friend Amy Cooper wrote on the fundraiser page.