Medical examiners have confirmed the body found buried behind a house on Turnipseed Road on March 22 is that of Carolyn Sue Fox, the 75-year-old woman who had been missing since last summer.
A Wake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman announced the identification Monday afternoon but said the cause of death remained unknown and that the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Fox’s son, 54-year-old Stephen Owen Schrader Jr., who was charged in October with abusing and taking money from his mother, remains in the Wake County jail.
“We’re still following up every lead we can to find out her cause of death and put as many pieces of the puzzle together – to see if we have any evidence against him or whoever else to see how she got where she was,” Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Tuesday. “He’s a suspect; there’s no question about that.”
Harrison said attempts to question Schrader since the body was discovered and later identified as Fox have failed.
“(Investigators) tried to talk to him but didn’t get anything out of him, so that’s where we stand,” Harrison said. “When we’ve got a case like this, we go back over what we have to make sure we haven’t missed anything. There’s a lot of paperwork we have to go through, since this all started back in the summer.”
Forensic anthropologists from N.C. State University helped investigators locate Fox’s body, which was buried three feet deep in the woods near Fox’s home at 6524 Turnipseed Road.
Fox’s body, Harrison said, was actually on the adjacent property owned by Schrader, at 6520 Turnipseed Road.
Investigators searched the area around the houses several times, sometimes with cadaver dogs, since a friend reported Fox missing Oct. 3. The friend told authorities she hadn’t seen Fox since mid-July and was concerned because she believed Schrader posed a threat to Fox.
When investigators interviewed Schrader that same day, he told them Fox took her four dogs with her to visit friends in Canada and that she had moved to an island in the Philippines. They later found that Fox had no passport and that Schrader had turned his mother’s four dogs over to the Wake County Animal Shelter on July 20.
On Oct. 4, the day after interviewing Schrader, investigators searched Fox’s house.
Search warrants show 37 items were taken from the residence, including $12,200 bagged up in a locked box in Schrader’s bedroom, a life insurance policy for Fox, Schrader’s passport, a box that held a hatchet, knives, saws and a machete.
Investigators also found paperwork related to a mental evaluation and anger management treatment for Schrader.
Schrader has been held in lieu of $200,000 since his arrest Oct. 12.