Detectives searching for a prostitute in Liverpool were waiting for tests on Monday on human remains that were found in an alley.
The body parts were found in the alleyway in Everton on Sunday night, more than a week since Pauline Stephen was reported missing.
Clothes, believed to belong to Mrs Stephen, were also found close to the remains. Her car was also parked nearby.
Ms Stephen, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, failed to return home on 12 July, and has not been seen since.
Merseyside Police said the remains were found in an alley, off St Domingo Vale.
A spokeswoman said: "Police have been searching an
alleyway and have recovered human body parts.
"It is not known whether they are female or male."
A post-mortem examination of the remains was due to take place at 1200 BST on Monday, she added.
Ms Stephen, who has a partner and eight-year-old son, grew up in Liverpool and has been working as a prostitute in the city.