WPD: Students find evidence leading investigators to human remains

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Submitted: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 2:41am
Updated: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 9:11pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police say students have helped them find human remains as they searched for an elderly woman missing since early November in the Love Grove community.

Police say Basic Law Enforcement Training students from Cape Fear Community College helped them search for clues this afternoon in the disappearance of Alma Lawson. Around 2:45 p.m., investigators say the group found human remains. They are working to positively identify the remains. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Police initially said the students found a “suspicious item” they believed was connected to Lawson along the train tracks along Railroad Street. Police later said it was a personal item that may have belonged to Lawson. That led them to find other items further down the hill next to the tracks. Searchers cut through thick brush before finding the body submerged in a ravine partially submerged in water.

Lawson, 83, went missing in November near her home on Stanley Street in the neighborhood.

A CFCC spokesman says last week WPD asked the school if the BLET students could help in the search for clues. Instructors were able to tweak their schedule so 17 students could help today.

“We had a class from Cape Fear Community College BLET students who were offered the opportunity to come out and train in this environment, “Wilmington Police Detective Kevin Smith said. “ That gave them good training and gave us more eyes on the ground.”

Police say they’ve searched the area several times. They say the fact that it’s been cold and foliage has been dying may have helped reveal the item, which they have not yet publicly identified.


  • Justin says:

    Her body was found less than two blocks from her home … missing two months, and only two blocks.

  • NHHS Wildcat says:

    Read the other media outlets. WPD extended their search outward and north of Love Grove after extensively searching closer to home originally. About a mile from home. Not two blocks.

    Family seemed to be appreciative.

    Prayers to the Lawson family.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Bless her heart, so sad.

  • Sharon says:

    If the body has been there the whole time, why did the k-9’s not find her? It doesn’t make sense…people have been up and down for months searching for her.

  • taxpayer says:

    drugs. Cadaver dogs search for human remains. While both are dogs…they’re trained differently.

  • Guest Reply says:

    What an embarrassment for the WPD.

  • Guest 211 says:


  • jimbo says:

    She was leaving 1113 Stanley street when she disappeared. Her body was found just off King Street at Railroad street, down by the spill way. I’d say three, maybe four blocks, according to Google Maps, from her last know location.
    According to previous news reports, the Wilmington fire dept members, on foot and using their boat, the city’s storm water department, the Wilmington Police Department’s canine and mounted officers, the Brunswick County Search and Rescue team, plus multiple family members had searched the area.
    My guess is she was probably found in, or partially submerged in, the water.

  • Government Mule says:

    you must be a government employee. The point was; they failed. Kids had to help. She was 2 blocks away. A lap dog would have a accomplished as much, maybe more than the highly and very specifically trained dog of any kind that was used. Thanks government. How much did this failure cost me?

  • Guest111 says:

    I’m glad the family has closure now. I’m sorry for your loss.

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