Police in North Carolina arrested a woman after she sold a freezer containing her mother's corpse for $30 at a yard sale, telling the buyer it was "a time capsule".

Marcella Jean Lee, 56, had been on the run for three months after she sold a neighbour the freezer containing the frozen remains of her mother, who was last seen alive in August last year.

When the neighbour bought the freezer from Lee in Goldsboro, North Carolina, it was taped shut and Lee instructed the buyer not to open it.

Telling the neighbour it was a time capsule, she said that church members would come and collect the freezer's contents.


The neighbour reported to police when she found remains inside the freezer, which were later identified as 75-year-old Arma Roush.

Roush, who was Marcella Lee's mother, had not died by foul play, an autopsy later revealed.

Police arrested Lee 160km south of Goldsboro, at Carolina Beach.

Lee has been charged with failing to report a death.