Body found in woods linked to missing manPublished 1:58pm Thursday, January 2, 2014
A body found in a wooded area in Northeast Morgan County on New Year’s Day is believed to be that of Franklin Howard Payne, a 74-year-old man reported missing from his home on Pine Hill Circle in Lacey’s Spring Dec. 10.
The body was discovered by a family hiking in the Dry Creek Cove community about 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said a preliminary determination was made that the body was that of Payne based on a description of Payne, a tattoo and other body markings.
Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn had the body sent to a state forensics lab in Huntsville for an autopsy and positive identification.
He said the man was lying in a dry creek bed about 20 to 25 feet from a walking trail and about a mile and a half from where Payne lived. He was clothed in a shirt, pants and shoes.
Franklin said horses and ATV’s were dispatched to the scene to reach and assist in retrieving the body.
Payne, who suffered from dementia, wandered away from his home at about 1 a.m. and was the subject of intense rescue efforts conducted by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, Morgan County Rescue Squad and other law enforcement agencies