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.