Two people have been arrested after authorities discovered the body of a missing North Carolina man buried 15 feet underground in a well.
Donna Hagy and Dwayne Alan Smith are accused of concealing the death of Morganton man Howell Buchanan Jr., who went missing in August, according to the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. Both were booked into jail Oct. 20.
Authorities launched an investigation after Buchanan was reported missing and deputies were unable to locate him during a wellness check at his home in late August, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities conducted several interviews in the investigation, which led them to “what appeared to be a relatively fresh dig site with heavy equipment on an old powerline right-of-way” in the 4900 block of Old NC 18 on Sept. 30.
Crews excavated the site Oct. 18 and discovered a well underneath the dirt, according to police. That’s where they found Buchanan’s remains buried about 15 feet deep within it.
Hagy, who police said is Buchanan’s ex-girlfriend, was arrested after she was interviewed by investigators. Smith was taken into custody later that same day.
Neither have been charged in Buchanan’s killing, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators said they believe the person responsible died a few day after killing Buchanan.
Authorities added that Buchanan suffered blunt force trauma and strangulation, and he was likely dead before his remains were placed in the well.
Hagy remained jailed on a $50,000 secured bond as of Friday, online records show. Smith did not appear on the list of current inmates.
Burke County is about 80 miles northwest of Charlotte.