Missing woman believed to have died collecting items from dumpster in Burlington, police say

BURLINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- A missing Burlington woman may have died while collecting items from a dumpster behind a shopping center last week, according to the Burlington Police Department.

According to a news release from the police department, 30-year-old Stephanie Cox's family reported her missing on January 30. Her car was found around 12:30 p.m. behind a row of businesses at the Alamance Crossing shopping center.

Family members said Cox often collected items from local dumpsters.

Surveillance video showed Cox pull up to the dumpster just after midnight. Officers believe she was alone and did not leave the dumpster before trash collectors emptied it around 1:45 a.m.

In a written statement, Burlington Police Department Assistant Chief Brian Long said, "This case brings to light the dangers associated with collections from dumpsters. The commonly known practice of 'dumpster diving' is not safe."

Investigators believe Cox's body is at the Uwharrie Environmental Landfill in Montgomery County, N.C.

A search party of 17 people worked Tuesday to find Cox's remains there and officials said the search will continue Wednesday.

The team includes members from the Burlington Police Department, Burlington Fire Department, Elon Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff's Department and the Montgomery County Rescue Squad.

Uwharrie Environmental staff are also helping in the effort.
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