The family of Liz Stonger has little doubt their loved one is gone. They are still waiting for autopsy results to confirm the identity of a body discovered in a car Monday morning down a steep embankment.
Troopers say it is the car of the missing Belmont mother. Elizabeth "Liz" Stonger hasn't been seen since Sunday, October 14th at the Belmont Walmart.
"I wasn't going to stop until I figured out what happened to her," said sister, Amy Stonger. "I couldn't live not knowing what happened to her," she said.
Stonger organized searches for her sister and worked to get her story out to the media.
She said it helps knowing her sister was found, but the discovery has started a difficult grief process.
"It is such a relief to have the closure," she said. "But then again, I'm like how do you pick up the pieces, and no one can tell me," she said.
Stonger will raise her sister's little boy, who is three. She says they will work hard to keep his mother's memory alive.
The case is still an active investigation.
According to troopers, the vehicle found down an embankment off Spooky Hollow Road off of U.S. Highway 221 in southern McDowell County.
A body of a woman was found inside the car, troopers told WBTV, but they have not confirmed the identity of the woman inside. Investigators believe the body has been there for a while.
Troopers on scene told WBTV they believe this was an accident, because it happened near a curve.
"It's steep. Pretty steep straight down into a gully," a trooper told WBTV.
Police say Stonger's cell phone pinged in a spot near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Stonger is believed to have been last seen in a faded burgundy 1998 Chevy Lumina with NC license plate ABC-6609.
The car has a "Happy Bunny" sticker on the fuel door. There is also a stick figure on the back windshield. It shows a woman and child.
Police in Belmont told WBTV that details seem to match their missing persons case for Stonger, but they are waiting for autopsy results to confirm it.
Krista Cartwright's boyfriend spotted the car two days ago. She urged him on Monday to hike down and take a closer look.
"We need to go and make sure nobody's in there," she told him.
There was and they called 911.
Local folks say hardly anyone who doesn't live here comes down the road. It's a secluded, dead end road and they can't find a connection, if the woman turns out to be Stonger.
"Unless she knows someone here, but everyone tells me they don't know who this woman is," a neighbor told WBTV.
Investigators say they still have a lot of questions.
They say damage to the car was not extensive and the victim was wearing her seat belt.
Investigators say they did find Stonger's ID inside the vehicle. The body has been sent to Chapel Hill so they can find out how she died, when she died and get that positive identification.
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