- Associated Press - Friday, November 13, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Samantha Payne left home on a Friday night two weeks ago to celebrate her 29th birthday. It was the last time her family would see her.

The events that happened over the next few days led to her violent death in the rural Talladega National Forest. Squirrel hunters found Payne’s body tied to a tree Monday morning. She had been stabbed to death.

Investigators believe that Payne was with two men and two women who assaulted her and took her against her will to the wooded area off the gravel road where she was killed.

Late Monday night, investigators charged Michael David Belcher, 31, and Chylli Bruce, 18, with capital murder.

On Thursday afternoon, they charged Marcus George, 34, and Alyssa Watson, 22, with first-degree kidnapping. Their arrests came minutes after Susanne and Roy Payne spoke with reporters, asking the public for information to bring their daughter’s killers to justice.

All of the suspects are from Bibb County, where investigators believe everyone was in the days leading up to Samantha Payne’s death.

“There are some gaps in the timeline of where she possibly could have been and who she could have been with,” Susanne Payne said. “If anyone out there saw her, talked or texted with her and knows where she may have been please call the Sheriff’s Office. We really need people to come forward to help us get these people put away.”

She said she couldn’t bear to think of how her daughter’s life ended. The Paynes were unable to see their daughter’s remains.

“I wonder what she went through. I wonder what she was thinking,” Susanne Payne said. “I just wanted to see her one more time and let her know that mama and daddy are here now, and she’s OK.”

Court records don’t show whether any of the four suspects have hired or been appointed defense lawyers to speak on their behalf.

Roy Payne was injured and had to go on disability around the time his daughter was beginning college, he said. She happily worked at restaurants seven days a week to make ends meet while attending school, he said.

“She knew so many people, and everybody that met here really loved her,” he said. “Whoever did this to her, they know what kind of person she was. Right now I cannot figure out why this had to happen.”

Samantha was a cheerleader who played softball and basketball while growing up. She was known for her pretty smile, her mother said, and her giving nature.

“She was also a very trusting person, and a little bit on the naive side,” Susanna Payne said. “She always wanted to believe the good in people. She couldn’t see the evil or bad that some people could have. She was just a very, very loving and trusting soul.”

The Paynes said they hope that the people responsible for killing Samantha are prosecuted fully. Belcher and Bruce could receive the death penalty if they’re convicted. They are being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail with no bond set.

George and Watson were being held Thursday night with bond set at $60,000.

“They had no right to take my daughter away from me,” Susanna Payne said. “I’ll never see her again. I can’t even see her now, just one more time to say goodbye.”

___

Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide