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Dumpster-diver, 30, dies after getting trapped in a trash container

Dumpster-diver, 30, dies after getting trapped in a trash container


Dumpster-diver, 30, is found dead in landfill after climbing into trash container and ending up in garbage truck

  • Stephanie Cox, 30, was found dead in North Carolina landfill on Monday
  • She had been feared dead since disappearing while dumpster diving January 30
  • Surveillance video shows her climbing into dumpster behind shopping center
  • Cox did not emerge from the dumpster before a garbage truck serviced it 

Stephanie Cox, 30, disappeared on January 30 after climbing into a dumpster

The remains of a woman who died in an apparent dumpster-diving mishap have been discovered in a landfill.

Stephanie Cox, 30, disappeared on January 30 after climbing into a dumpster behind the Alamance Crossing shopping center in Burlington, North Carolina.

A police search located her suspected remains on Monday afternoon at the Unharrie Environmental landfill in Montgomery County.

While official identification is pending with the medical examiner, police say they have reason to be confident that the remains are indeed Cox’s. No foul play is suspected in the case.

Video shows Cox climbed into a dumpster behind Five Below (above) a little after midnight on January 30, and did not leave the dumpster before a truck serviced it at 1.47am

Video shows Cox climbed into a dumpster behind Five Below (above) a little after midnight on January 30, and did not leave the dumpster before a truck serviced it at 1.47am

Cox's family members say that it was not uncommon for her to collect items from local dumpsters

Police warn that so-called 'dumpster-diving' is not a safe activity

Cox’s family members say that it was not uncommon for her to collect items from local dumpsters. Police warn that so-called ‘dumpster-diving’ is not a safe activity

Cox’s family members say that it was not uncommon for her to collect items from local dumpsters, according to a statement from the Burlington Police Department.

The tragic saga first came to police attention on January 30, when Cox’s family members reported her missing, saying she’d last been seen in nearby Greensboro.

Cops in Burlington responded to a report of an unattended vehicle behind the Alamance Crossing strip mall, and determined that the car was Cox’s and it did not appear to be stolen.

Surveillance video from the shopping mall revealed the grim sequence of events.

Shortly after midnight on January 30, Cox was seen on the video climbing into one of the dumpsters behind Boot Barn and Five Below, a teen-oriented retail chain.

Cox did not emerge from the dumpster before a garbage truck arrived and serviced the dumpster at 1.47am, tipping the contents into an on-board compactor.

‘A review of all associated video never shows others on the property until the truck arrived to service the dumpster,’ Burlington police said in a statement. 

While official identification is pending with the medical examiner, police say they have reason to be confident that the remains are indeed Cox's. No foul play is suspected in the case

While official identification is pending with the medical examiner, police say they have reason to be confident that the remains are indeed Cox’s. No foul play is suspected in the case

Police launched a search at the Unharrie landfill, but were delayed for several days by inclement weather. Cox’s presumed remains were discovered at the landfill on Monday at around 5pm.

‘This case brings to light the dangers associated with collections from dumpsters,’ Burlington police said. ‘The commonly known practice of “dumpster diving” is not safe.’ 

Cox’s family and friends launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for her funeral. 

‘She had the best sense of humor & was always there with positive encouragement when her friends needed her,’ Cox’s friend Amy Cooper wrote on the fundraiser page.  

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