Widow of Murder Victim Abducted - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/15/07 - Center

Widow of Murder Victim Abducted

by Donna McCollum

Center Police and Texas Rangers are still investigating the murder of Vance Payne. He was a well known and well liked businessman found beaten in his Center home in February. He later died and his killer remains a mystery. Now they're shocked to be investigating the kidnapping of Payne's widow.

Billie Sue Payne is still grieving over the murder of her husband Vance. She was just getting accustomed to living alone in the home they shared when around 5:30 Wednesday morning crime reentered the residence. Center police Chief Walter Shofner said,  " Mrs Payne heard something, got up and at which time she was confronted by the suspect." It was an armed man wearing sunglasses, dark panty hose over his face and arms and gloves. He took a couple of items from the home and spent hours with Payne.   Shofner said,  " She wasn't bound or anything. They talked about different things. She was from what we're told, he was very courteous to her, polite. "

But with bad intentions. He was waiting for Shelby Savings to open. Around 8:30, Payne withdrew cash at the drive thru. Surveillance cameras recorded the withdrawal. Attempts will be made to enhance the video.    " According to police, Payne drove her tan Expedition throughout Shelby County and Center with her abductor in the back seat. They say she followed his instruction everywhere they went. "  Shofner attributes that to her safe return.  " I think she did a good job with how she handled herself under a very stressful situation. In this instance, what she did kept her from being hurt."

The last stop Payne made was at Sandel Street, a neighborhood corner near a wooded area.   Shone said,  " When she stopped he opened the door and hit the woods. So that was the last time he was seen. " Evidence gathered at the scene will undergo DNA testing. Investigators won't say what it is, but say it supports Payne's account.

Another house in the neighborhood was discovered burglarized the same morning. Police suspect a connection. Shofner said it's pure speculation that the Payne murder and the Vance abduction are connected.

Mrs Payne is distraught. Her husband's brutal, unsolved murder and now her abduction are disturbing events. Shofner's reaction was, " I was kinda shocked, honestly. She's been thorugh enough and I feel for her and the family. "

The police chief tell us Payne did 'not' recognize her abductor's physical characteristics or his voice. He's hoping she'll be able to recall more as she recovers from the experience. So far, the only description police are giving is a man about six feet tall of slim build and perhaps Caucasian.

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