COCKEYSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — The body found in a recycling center in Cockeysville earlier this week had been dismembered, police said Thursday.

Workers at the recycling facility found the body wrapped in a tarp just after noon on Tuesday. The limbs and head were gone when the body was found; just the torso remained.

Police identified the man on Thursday night as John Ernest Stevens, 42, of Laurel. Stevens had been reported missing on December 3.

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An autopsy is still ongoing, but Baltimore County police said they’re fairly confident the death will be ruled a homicide.

John Ernest Stevens. Courtesy: Laurel Police

Baltimore County Police spokesperson Jennifer Peach said it’s too early to rule out any circumstances that may have led to Stevens’ death, including possible gang affiliation.

A source told WJZ workers heard a loud thump and tried to grab the body, which was wrapped in a tarp, but it was too heavy. Workers had to pause the belt to remove it.

At first, they thought it was a Halloween decoration or a mannequin, the source said. When they learned it was a body, they called police.

Harford and Cecil Counties also send recyclables to the facility, police said, so it’s still unclear where the body came from.

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