Workers sorting through material at a recycling plant in rural Baltimore County earlier this week found part of the body of a missing Laurel, Maryland, man, police said.
The dismembered torso was discovered wrapped in a tarp on a conveyor belt around noon Tuesday at the Central Acceptance Facility, located off Beaver Dam Road in Cockeysville, Maryland, Baltimore County police said.
Police identified the torso as that of 42-year-old John Ernest Stevens, who was reported missing earlier this month. Family members told police in Laurel they had last seen the man Dec. 3.
Detectives were able to use tattoos — which included a mural of Stevens’ son and Jesus — to help identify his body, police said.
The medical examiner has ruled the man’s death a homicide, but the cause is still undetermined, police spokeswoman Jennifer Peach told WTOP. She said the full report from the medical examiner could take another month.
The Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit is currently investigating how the torso got to the recycling center. Police said the recycling center also accepts bulk recyclable material from Harford and Cecil counties.
No other parts of the man’s body have been found.
While Laurel police investigated the man’s disappearance, the Baltimore County department is taking the lead in investigating Stevens’ killing, unless investigators discover he was killed elsewhere, Peach said.
Anyone with information about this case can call detectives at (410) 307-2020. Callers can submit anonymous tips through Metro Crime Stoppers by calling 1-866-7LOCKUP.