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xx Jonah & Nicole Payne - April 23, 2005 - GA
« Thread started on: Apr 25th, 2005, 11:06am »

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WARRENTON, Georgia (CNN) -- The search for two toddlers missing since Saturday resumes Monday morning, said Warren County sheriff's officials, who suspended the search Sunday night because of fatigue.

The officials said they still had no reason to suspect foul play in the disappearance of 3-year-old Jonah Payne and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole.

According to the Augusta Chronicle, the children's mother, Lottie Kain, called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday and reported that the toddlers had disappeared from their home in Warrenton, about 40 miles west of Augusta, when she went to the bathroom for a few minutes.

Search teams worked all night Saturday and most of Sunday before fatigue set in, and officials called a time out.

The Chronicle said that searchers worked by air, on foot and in vehicles and that dive teams were searching ponds and swamps.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials told the paper they have seen no evidence to indicate anyone abducted the children. But Dennis Payne, the children's father and Kain's fiance, told the paper he believes someone took them.
http://edition.cnn.com/2005/US/04/25/missing.toddlers/
« Last Edit: Apr 27th, 2005, 05:55am by FindCarrie » User IP Logged

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xx Missing Georgia toddlers found dead
« Reply #1 on: Apr 25th, 2005, 3:43pm »

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/04/25/missing.toddlers/index.html

Monday, April 25, 2005 Posted: 4:35 PM EDT (2035 GMT)


WARRENTON, Georgia (CNN) -- The bodies of two toddlers reported missing over the weekend were found Monday in a pond near their rural Georgia home, state investigators said.

"It appears that our worst fears have been realized," said John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Bankhead said the bodies were found about 12:15 p.m. in a sanitation pond, and that they were positively identified in a photograph by their father. The spokesman said an autopsy will be performed Tuesday and that the investigation was ongoing.

The search for 3-year-old Jonah Payne and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole, had resumed Monday morning, said Warren County sheriff's officials, who suspended the search Sunday night because of fatigue.

Before the bodies were found, Bankhead said that while authorities "are trying to concentrate our efforts on finding the kids, there are other aspects of the investigation that we're pursuing that I can't get into at this point."

He said that authorities had interviewed several people and administered more than one polygraph examination.

"I can't talk specifically about polygraph examinations," he said. "I will say generally that a polygraph is a valuable tool in these type of investigations."

The children's parents, Lottie Kain and Dennis Payne, attended a Monday morning news conference but did not participate. Payne embraced the sobbing Kain, and the couple stood behind Jones.

Jay Jones, a friend of the parents, said that they were "understandably upset," and that "they will take questions, but now is not the appropriate time."

Warrenton Police Chief Jim McClain said Lottie Kain called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday and reported that the toddlers had disappeared from their home in Warrenton, about 40 miles west of Augusta, when she went to the bathroom for a few minutes.

Search teams -- both law enforcement and volunteer -- worked all night Saturday and most of Sunday before fatigue set in, and officials called a time out.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials told The Augusta Chronicle that they have not seen evidence to indicate anyone abducted the children. But Payne, Kain's fiance, told the paper he believed someone took them.

Bankhead said officials were following up on numerous leads "but nothing solid."
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xx Police Investigate Ga. Toddlers' Deaths
« Reply #2 on: Apr 26th, 2005, 09:52am »

The 3-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl had been missing since Saturday.

John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said the bodies of Nicole and Jonah Payne were found about 3:30 p.m. Monday in a small pond a few hundred yards from their family's Warren County home. Bankhead said they were covered with algae, making it hard for searchers to spot them.

It was not immediately clear if the youngsters drowned. He said investigators were continuing to look into whether foul play was involved.

An autopsy will be performed Tuesday.

Bankhead said the pond where the bodies were found is used to hold sewage from the city of Augusta. He said investigators had checked the pond this weekend but the children's bodies were apparently obscured by a green layer of algae that covers the water.

The bodies were found during a second search of the pond by an investigator who happened to notice a "bump" in the water, Bankhead said. He said divers were still scouring the water to see if any evidence could be found.

Bankhead said no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed in the case.

The parents were described as "broken up" over the news.
http://www.nbc4.tv/news/4415939/detail.html
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xx Autopsies conducted on Georgia toddlers
« Reply #3 on: Apr 26th, 2005, 2:44pm »

WARRENTON, Georgia (CNN) -- Preliminary results of autopsies conducted on two toddlers found in an algae-covered sanitation pond indicate no sign of foul play, a county coroner said Tuesday.

"There [are] no visible signs of trauma" on the bodies of Jonah Payne, 3, and his sister, Nicole Payne, 2, said Paul Lowe, Warren County coroner.

Lowe said he viewed the bodies after searchers pulled them from the pond Monday. "I stress to you, there is no indication there is any foul play involved," he said.

However, the investigation continues. Authorities conducting tests at the State Crime Lab in Augusta have not released a cause of death.

Investigators examined the algae-choked pond near the tots' house during the weekend as they searched for the siblings.

But they didn't find the children's corpses until Monday afternoon when a searcher noticed a lump beneath the green scum and discovered the girl's body.

Jonah's remains were a few feet away. The children's father, Dennis Payne, identified the bodies in a photograph, said John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Lottie Kain, the children's mother, reported them missing Saturday night from their house in Warrenton, about 40 miles west of Augusta.

Kain told police that when she returned from a brief trip to the bathroom the children were gone.

Warrenton Police Chief Jim McClain said Kain also told police that Nicole had figured out how to unlock the front door of the house and that the children had gotten out earlier Saturday.

Police followed routine procedures in administering polygraph tests to the parents and investigating the lone registered sex offender in the small town and 13 more in Warren County.

Authorities said they have ruled out the involvement of the sex offenders in the children's disappearances and deaths.

A path leads directly to the pond from the children's home. Fencing surrounds the water, but police are investigating whether the two youngsters got through it.

"We have surveyed the entire area to see if there might be any evidence to indicate that they maybe slipped in or accidentally [fell] in," Bankhead said.

Payne, the children's father, thanked investigators and searchers Monday for their efforts.

"They did a wonderful job," he said. "... You can't see any better people."

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/04/26/missing.toddlers/
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xx Autopsies find missing Warren children drowned
« Reply #4 on: Apr 27th, 2005, 05:56am »

By Errin Haines
Associated Press


WARRENTON - Autopsies confirmed Tuesday that two children found dead in a sewage pond after disappearing from their home drowned, and the coroner said there appeared to be no sign of foul play.

Jonah Payne, 3, and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole, were reported missing Saturday night by their mother, who said they vanished after she went into another room. She said she found the front door open and the children gone.

Their bodies were found Monday in an algae-covered pond a few hundred yards down the road.

Autopsies also found no significant injuries to the children's bodies, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead.

Warren County Coroner Paul Lowe said there appeared to be no foul play and that the children probably died late Saturday night.

Authorities continued their investigation, reinterviewing family members and neighbors.

"The parents are still very much in shock and mourning," said family spokesman Jaye Jones. "They are only able to speak for a couple minutes at a time before being overcome with tears and sobbing."

Jones said the children's parents, Dennis Payne and Lottie Kain, who are unmarried but engaged, have cooperated fully with law enforcement. He added that Jonah and Nicole were the couple's only children.

Earlier on the day of the youngsters' disappearance, Nicole figured out how to unlock the front door and gate and left with Jonah, police said. A neighbor returned the children a half-hour later.

Outside the couple's trailer Tuesday, the children's toys remained strewn across the yard. A red wagon, a baby doll carriage and a toy Jeep were among the items inside the yard fenced with chicken wire with a chain-link gate.

Neighbors visited the 1.5-acre pond, surrounded by a chain-link fence and fallen logs, and wondered how the children got in.

"It looks horrible," said neighbor Wylene Veaty. "It must have been a hole or something for them to crawl through."
http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/11497458.htm
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xx Grand jury to get case on toddlers' deaths
« Reply #5 on: Apr 28th, 2005, 05:33am »

By DAVID MARKIEWICZ, CRAIG SCHNEIDER

A grand jury will decide whether criminal charges will be brought regarding the deaths of two toddlers found in an east Georgia sewage pond Monday, said the Warren County district attorney.

"If nothing else, this gives us a chance to share the information with the public," District Attorney Dennis Sanders said Wednesday.

Sanders said he will bring the matter before the next grand jury when it convenes in mid-July, but he emphasized he has not yet decided whether he will ask for certain charges. He might just present the details of the children's deaths and let the grand jury decide whether anyone should be charged with a crime, he said.

Sanders said much will depend on the outcome of the criminal investigation, which authorities said is expected to continue for about four to six weeks.

"We know a lot, but there's a lot we don't know," said Sanders, who represents six counties including Warren.

No arrests have been made.

On Saturday, the children's mother, Lottie Kain, told police that 3-year-old Jonah Payne and his sister, 2-year-old Nicole, had wandered away from their rural Warrenton home. After a two-day search, the children's bodies were found Monday in an algae-covered sanitation pond nearby.

On Tuesday, authorities said an autopsy indicated the children had drowned and said there was no significant trauma on their bodies.

Kain, 33, told authorities her children apparently had wandered off about 6 p.m. Saturday while she was in the bathroom. They had strayed away about two hours earlier but were brought back home by a neighbor, police said.

Hours before the toddlers drowned, their parents bought a lock to keep the children from getting out the front door.

But authorities said the couple couldn't put the lock on because they lacked the proper drill bit to do the job.

Kain and the children's father, Dennis Payne, have been under the scrutiny of the state Division of Family and Children Services for about two years for issues that include poor supervision of the children and having a dirty house. The latest home visit was last week, officials said.

District attorneys do not necessarily bring every case they consider to a grand jury, noted Danny Porter, district attorney in Gwinnett County.

But in this case, Porter said there are central questions: Were the parents lax in their supervision over the children, and, if so, did it contribute to their deaths and should the parents be charged with child endangerment?

"Where's the line between criminal neglect and what is a tragic accident?" Porter said.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/0405/28warren.html
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xx Finding the missing an inexact science
« Reply #6 on: May 3rd, 2005, 05:19am »

By RHONDA COOK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/03/05


There are few firm rules for law enforcement officers when someone is reported missing.

Despite the false alarm in the Jennifer Wilbanks case, officials say that sometimes it is better to overreact than to move too slowly.

Most respond immediately if a child, a senior citizen or someone with mental problems has disappeared.

"On any case that involves a kid, I'm not going to wait. Regardless," said Monroe County Sheriff John Carey Bittick. "If I think there is any chance of foul play, I'm not going to wait either."

He noted that last November, a 16-year-old girl from his Middle Georgia county was reported missing, but later her status was changed to a fugitive when she and her boyfriend were charged with robbing a North Georgia man for his truck so they could flee the state.

Duluth police immediately began a search for Wilbanks when she was reported missing by her fiancÚ and parents after she didn't return home from jogging Tuesday night. Her disappearance launched a massive search by police, family and friends. Police called off their search in Duluth about noon Friday, and by early Saturday, they had learned Wilbanks was safe in New Mexico. She said she couldn't take the pressure of planning a large wedding.

Law enforcement officials say circumstances dictate their response when adults are reported missing, and the Wilbanks family's contention that the disappearance was uncharacteristic of their daughter was enough to launch an immediate search.

"What we're looking for most is, is the person [acting] completely out of character?" said Lt. Kevin Flynn, who heads the Cobb County Police Department's crimes against persons unit. "Do they have children to pick up from day care, have a good job, is not drug or alcohol dependent? We're looking for someone acting completely out of the norm."

Wilbanks' fiancÚ, John Mason, and family members were alarmed when Wilbanks did not return home, especially because she was to be married Saturday in Duluth in a ceremony witnessed by 600 invited guests.

Police officials say they must decide whether to move ahead or wait, given that many missing people turn up. "It's not a crime to walk out of the world," Flynn added.

GBI spokesman John Bankhead said: "The key difference between a missing child and a missing adult is adults have the freedom to be missing. You can't run away from your financial obligations, but you can disappear."

In recent weeks, there was another high-profile case of missing people that got an immediate response from law enforcement.

It involved two preschoolers who apparently slipped out the unlocked door of the mobile home where they lived. Two days after they were reported missing on April 23, the bodies of Jonah Payne, 3, and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole, were found in a sewage pond near their home in Warren County.

"With children we act immediately," said Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens, who recently had a case of a missing 21-month-old. The child, Nicholas Guthrie, was found dead in a creek, where he had followed a family dog. He was found about an hour after his mother called the sheriff.

For some larger law enforcement agencies, reports of missing people are a daily occurrence. "It's very common," said Sgt. Charles Dedrick of the DeKalb County Police Department. "Several reports in a day? That's not unusual."

While some believe a person must be missing 24 hours before a police report can be filed, that is not the case.

Once a child is determined to be missing, state law requires that a report be entered into the Georgia criminal database immediately. A report of a missing adult should be entered within 12 hours after they are determined missing.

"Police get into the most trouble when they don't take the initial signs seriously," said Flynn, who supervises Cobb County's missing persons detectives.

The belief in a mandatory 24-hour wait is "something from the 'Dragnet' days or 'Adam 12,' " Flynn said. "We try to follow up on them as fast as we can."
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/0505/03missingside.html
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xx Mother arrested in toddlers' April drowning deaths
« Reply #7 on: Jul 6th, 2005, 06:51am »

By CRAIG SCHNEIDER

A grand jury returned child cruelty charges Tuesday against the mother of two toddlers who wandered away from home and drowned in an east Georgia sewage pond in April.

Warren County District Attorney Dennis Sanders said the grand jury determined that Lottie Kain showed a pattern of neglectful behavior toward her two children, Jonah Payne, 3, and his sister, Nicole, 2.

The mother has been arrested, he said.

The children wandered away from their Warrenton home on April 23. After a two-day search, the children's bodies were found in an algae-covered sanitation pond nearby. An autopsy indicated the children had drowned and found no significant trauma on their bodies.

"Our position is that the accident could have been prevented and should have been prevented," Sanders said.

The children had strayed away about two hours earlier but were brought back home by a neighbor, police said.

Before the toddlers drowned, their parents had bought a lock to keep the children from getting out the front door. But authorities said the couple couldn't put the lock on because they lacked the proper drill bit to do the job.

Kain said the children had wandered off when she went into the bathroom.

The parents, Kain and Dennis Payne, had been under the scrutiny of the state Division of Family and Children Services because of concerns that the children had been left unattended. The last home visit by the agency occurred the week before the deaths.

No charges were filed against Dennis Payne, who was not at home when the children disappeared.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/0705/06toddlers.html
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xx Mother Pleads Innocent In Deaths Of 2-, 3-Year-Old
« Reply #8 on: Aug 10th, 2005, 10:39am »

WARRENTON, Ga. -- The mother of two toddlers who wandered away from their east Georgia home and drowned in a sanitation pond pleaded innocent Monday in Superior Court to charges of child cruelty.

Prosecutors claim lack of supervision by Lottie Kain was responsible for 3-year-old Jonah Payne and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole, disappearing from their rural home on April 23. Police said it was the second time that day they had wandered away.

Their bodies were discovered two days latter in the nearby sewage pond.

Kain has been held in McDuffie County since she was indicted and arrested last month.

http://www.news4jax.com/news4georgia/4829457/detail.html
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xx Witness testifies about group sex hours before tod
« Reply #9 on: Oct 10th, 2006, 3:25pm »

The child cruelty trial of a woman whose children wandered off and drowned in a sewage treatment pond began Monday, with prosecutors presenting testimony of group sex at her east Georgia home and other evidence meant to show she was an unfit parent.

Lottie Payne is charged with second-degree cruelty to children in the deaths of Jonah Payne, 3, and his 2-year-old sister, Nicole, whose bodies were recovered from the pond in April 2005. She could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted.

District Attorny Dennis Sanders called nine witnesses to characterize Payne as a criminally negligent parent who repeatedly failed to care properly for her children, despite multiple inquiries by social service organizations.

"It was a pattern I think you'll find disturbing," Sanders said during opening statements. "And it was headed right toward the disaster that eventually occurred."

Defense lawyer Michael Garrett told jurors that Payne is not a criminal and only took her eyes off her children for a moment to use the bathroom the day they wandered off.

"It all boils down to five or six minutes," he said. "Their pattern of behavior did not cost these children their lives."

Tommy Story of Thomson testified that he contacted Payne after seeing a phone number on television advertising a message service for area couples. Story said he and his wife, Kelly, drove to the Payne home in Warrenton, arriving about 1:30 a.m. on April 23, the day the children disappeared.

"It's fair to say everybody was having sex?" Sanders asked.

"Yes," Story replied, adding that the encounter with Payne and her husband, Dennis, lasted at least until about 4 a.m.

Joey Holloway, a volunteer social worker from Glascock County, said he became involved with Payne and her husband in 2003 after she left Jonah home alone to attend a New Year's Eve party.

Cathy Coleman, who rented a mobile home to Payne before she moved to Warrenton recalled finding Jonah wandering alone in the street one afternoon.

She said she drove the child back to his home, knocked on the door and asked Payne if she knew where her child was. "She said, 'He's right here,' and I told her he was sitting outside in my truck," Coleman testified.

The Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services also became involved with the Payne home, child protection worker Lisa Johnson testified.

"We had done parenting classes, homestead services in the home," she said. "They had met the goals of the program, and we were preparing to close the case."

About a month before the children died, emergency medical technician Charles Cumber was dispatched to the Payne home, where Nicole had suffered mild chemical burns on her face and scalp from hair remover.

"She had climbed up and got a bottle of hair remover, and it was poured onto her face and head," he said. Although the child was calm, she was taken to a hospital in Thomson to be examined, he said.
http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfullstory.asp?ID=81195
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