MCDOWELL COUNTY, N.C. -- Authorities in McDowell County found a car down an embankment with a body in it Monday morning, and have identified it as the body of a missing Belmont mother.
Authorities said a car was found down the embankment off of U.S. Highway 221 last Monday. Inside the car was a body of a white female who authorities have positively identified as Elizabeth "Liz" Stonger.
Stonger's body was found wearing clothes that matched the description of those she was last seen wearing. The vehicle's plates and VIN were identified as belonging to her.
Stonger was last seen in mid-October as she left the Walmart in Belmont on her lunch break. Her sister said she last used her cell phone a minute after clocking out to check her voice mail.
She had a 2-year old son and lived in Lowell.
Among items found in the vehicle were Stonger's identification card and a journal. The journal, sources say, details Stonger's last thoughts, and may help to explain why she drove her vehicle to the remote spot.
Sergeant Kevin Owens with the North Carolina Highway Patrol says, "We've spoken to all the neighbors who are up, they are all close knit, keep an eye on each other. None of them know this individual. Did not know this vehicle, did not know why it would be in the area."
Troopers say the damage to the car appeared to be relatively minor, not enough to cause fatal injuries. Officials added that the body in the car was in the driver seat, still belted in.
Investigators had been focusing their search in the McDowell area in the last couple of weeks after discovering Stonger's last cell reception came from that area.
Stonger was driving a burgundy 1998 Chevy Lumina with North Carolina tag ABC6609.