Remains found in shallow grave behind Conover home have been identified

CONOVER, N.C. — The remains found behind a home in Conover on Sept. 16 have been identified as Richard Lee Morris, 54.

The Conover man was reported missing on Aug. 26, 2021 from Catawba County.

Police said they received a tip last month that a body had possibly been buried in the backyard of a residence on Fourth Avenue Southwest.

The Conover Police Department, with assistance from the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, said they found what appeared to be a shallow grave at the home.

Investigators said they found evidence inside the grave and noted the grave didn’t appear to be recent.

Police said the remains were taken to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for an autopsy. The cause of death is not known.

No charges have been filed yet.

“As soon as we get the autopsy report back and actually have a cause of death, then we will have an idea of how we need to proceed with the case,” Conover Police Chief Eric Loftin said.

Loftin said they will take that info, put with the case file and submit it to the District Attorney’s Office.

Police said they questioned the person who lives in the home and he told them that he had buried a body in the backyard.

Neighbors told Channel 9 that police were investigating for more than nine hours. They said they have a lot of questions about this case.

Josh Goodwin said he has lived in a home near the scene for two years. He said he is in disbelief that someone may have buried a body just a few feet away.

“I have four kids and a family here trying to start new. This isn’t really what you want to see as a father and a husband,” Goodwin said.

Leroy Miller also lives near the home and said he just wants to know what happened.

“Just struck me as amazing because never see anybody walking out there. Never seen anyone come around,” Miller said.

This is a developing story. Check wsoctv.com for updates.

(WATCH BELOW: Mummified body found in bathtub of burglarized home)

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