Remains identified after body found buried in shallow grave in Catawba County

The body belonged to a 54-year-old man who had been missing since August 2021.
Investigators have identified the remains as those of 54-year-old Richard Lee Morris.
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:22 PM EDT
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CONOVER, N.C. (WBTV) - Authorities have identified a man who was found buried in a shallow grave behind a home in Conover last month.

According to the Conover Police Department, the remains belonged to 54-year-old Richard Lee Morris, who was reported missing to the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 26, 2021.

Police received information about the grave, which was located in the backyard of a home, on Sept. 16, 2022.

The home is located in the 300 block of 4th Avenue Southwest, near Lee Industries, just off of Highway 70.

At the time, investigators said the grave did not appear to be recently dug.

Investigators with the police department and sheriff’s office worked with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation to locate the grave, and sent the remains to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for examination.

At the hospital, an autopsy and thorough review of medical records were performed to reach a positive identification of the person.

Police say the final autopsy report has not yet been completed, and Morris’ cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

The case is continuing to be investigated, and no charges have been filed at this time.

Related: Authorities investigating after shallow grave found behind home in Catawba County