At least four vehicles pulled over after spotting a woman's body in the grass next to the highway.
The woman is identified as 21-year-old Latrese Matral Curtis of Raleigh. She was a student at North Carolina Central University in Durham.
"The entire university community is saddened by the death of this student and we offer sincere condolences to her family at this difficult time," Chancellor Charlie Nelms said. "The safety and security of our students is of utmost importance and we have a number of strategies in place to ensure the safety of our students on campus."
University officials say they have no reason to believe Curtis' death is directly linked to campus.
The NCCU counseling staff will be available to provide grief counseling to any students, faculty or staff who desire assistance.
Deputies are continuing their investigation, trying to figure out what happened and are pretty sure about one thing.
"It doesn't appear to be a hit-and-run, or anything like that," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said. "We're treating it as a homicide right now."
Durham Police officers are also assisting with the investigation. Curtis was reported missing from Durham early Wednesday.