On January 25, a search warrant was executed at the residence of Jackie Lamar Bright, 42, in Sanford, state officials said.
The search continued on January 26, which is when detectives found a 55-gallon barrel in a heavily wooded area.
The barrel contained concrete, as well as suspected human remains, detectives said.
Detectives seized the barrel and it was sent to the North Carolina State Medical Examiner’s Office for further inspection.
After removing the concrete, officials discovered a dismembered body inside.
The human remains were identified as Michael Bradley Cox, who was reported missing in December 2022, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Bright was charged with Cox's murder and he is currently in custody at the North Carolina Department of Corrections, officials said.
The suspect has an extensive criminal history and was released from prison in May of 2022. He was on parole when he was taken into custody on Jan. 6 by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for unrelated charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and controlled substance violations.
Bright bonded out of jail but was arrested again on January 11 for a parole and additional controlled substance violations.
This investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected, officials said.
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