LUMBERTON — When Sheriff Burnis Wilkins saw the skeletal remains of a person that were found this week, his first thought was of Sara Nicole Graham.
Graham was 18 years old when she went missing on Feb. 4, 2015, and has not been seen since. She wore braces, as did the person whose body was found Tuesday.
“I can confirm that the dental records of Sara Graham where submitted for dental comparisons, especially as our records indicate Graham was wearing braces at the time of her disappearance,” Wilkins said. “While we continue to seek clues to her disappearance, we continue to ask the public for any information regarding anyone missing that may have been wearing braces.”
Wilkins said he has no idea how long it might take before the state Medical Examiner’s Office determines if the body is that of Graham and, if not, who that person might be.
A surveying crew found the remains about 3 p.m. on Tuesday on the 1200 block of Heritage Drive near CSX railroad tracks.
At the time of her disappearance, Graham’s father, Hubert Graham, worked at the Sheriff’s Office as a sergeant, and her stepmother, Connie Graham, worked there as a detective. Connie Graham was later fired from the department, and Hubert Graham now works for the Maxton Police Department.
Graham had left her family’s home on Centerville Church Road in Fairmont at about 6:30 a.m. to go to work at Walmart in Pembroke. The white Chevrolet Astro van she had been driving was found about four hours later, abandoned on East McDonald Road near Chicken Road. According to an FBI press release at the time, witnesses reported seeing the van abandoned in that location at 6:45 a.m, leading investigators to believe she may have disappeared in that 15-minute window.
The FBI is offering up to $5,000 for information about what happened to Graham.
Dozens of law enforcement agencies have assisted in the search for Graham. A week after she was last seen, more than 140 volunteers also helped sweep the area around where her vehicle was found and her possible routes of travel — from her home in Fairmont to her job, and from where her car was found to Interstate 95. Graham’s cell phones records and computer were searched multiple times.
Graham is an American Indian, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. She had short, dark brown hair, brown eyes, and wears glasses. She was last seen wearing her blue, Walmart employee vest.
Anyone with information should call the FBI at 704-672-6100 or the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3100.
Reach Donnie Douglas at 910-416-5649 or [email protected]