Human remains found in barrel, encased in concrete, authorities say

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 8:22 AM EST
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SANFORD, N.C. (Gray News) – A man with a long criminal history faces a murder charge after Lee County investigators said they found a barrel with human remains in concrete on his property.

The remains were identified as Michael Bradley Cox, a man missing since December, Lee County Sheriff’s Department said. Jackie Lamar Bright, 42, has been charged with Cox’s killing.

Police said they located the 55-gallon barrel in a heavily wooded area near the residence on Jan. 26. The North Carolina State Medical Examiner’s Office said the body had been dismembered.

The investigation at Bright’s residence continued around 10 a.m. Sunday, when deputies on an ATV shut down the road next to the home on Farrell Road.

Then for hours, deputies were in and out of the home looking in all the outbuildings, opening many parked cars on the property and rifling through items.

According to the sheriff’s department, Bright had been released from prison in May of last year and was on parole when the Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested him on Jan. 6 for unrelated charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and controlled substance violations.

Narcotic agents searched the home on Jan. 6, and said they located marijuana, suboxone, cocaine and multiple items of drug paraphernalia.

During the execution of that warrant, detectives said they located a stolen side-by-side ATV inside a covered outbuilding on the property.

Bright bonded out of jail and was arrested again on Jan. 11 by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for parole violation and additional controlled substance violations, authorities said.

He’s currently in jail. Authorities said additional charges are expected.