Investigators found a body Wednesday near the homes of a 75-year-old woman who has been missing since last summer and the son who has been charged with abusing and taking money from her.
Authorities have not confirmed that the body is that of Carolyn Sue Fox, 75, of 6524 Turnipseed Road, southwest of Wendell near the Wake County line.
The body was buried three feet in the ground about 30 feet into the woods behind the 6520 Turnipseed Road property owned by Fox’s son, 54-year-old Stephen Owen Schrader Jr.
The body was removed Thursday and taken to the medical examiner’s office for identification and to establish a cause of death. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he could not say if anything suggested the body belonged to Fox.
“We felt like we may have missed something,” Harrison said. “We just didn’t have any leads. We were just sort of fishing. So we wanted to cross every T and dot every I, and that’s why we were back out there.”
Harrison credited a pair of N.C. State University anthropologists for helping officials locate the body they have searched for “a lot of times,” sometimes with cadaver dogs, since October.
“We had a lot of good help,” Harrison said. “The two doctors from N.C. State, they were great. They saw several areas of interest where the dogs had previously showed some interest there. The doctors said they wanted to go back and look at it. We did some digging, and the dogs came back and gave a signal.”
A friend reported Fox missing Oct. 3 because she hadn’t seen her since mid-July and believed Schrader had threatened previously to hurt her. Officials went to Fox’s home on the afternoon of Oct. 3 and again the morning of Oct. 4 but could not find her, prompting them to issue a missing person notice Oct. 5.
Investigators arrested Schrader on Oct. 12 and charged him with three counts of obtaining his mother’s money by false pretenses and putting it into his account at Wells Fargo bank. He was also charged with exploitation of an elder or disabled adult for allegedly using $2,620 of his mother’s money “for his own gain,” and accused of abusing Fox by confining her and failing to provide medical care and hygienic care.
A grand jury indicted him on the same charges and indicated that the offenses happened in the months before Oct. 4.
Schrader initially told investigators his mother went to visit friends in Canada with her four dogs and had moved to an island in the Philippines. When investigators checked Schrader’s story, they found that Fox has no passport and that he had surrendered his mother’s four dogs to the Wake County Animal Shelter on July 20.
Schrader has remained in the Wake County jail in lieu of $200,000 bail since his arrest.