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April 26, 2005

Missing toddlers found drowned

The bodies of two-year-old Nicole and three-year-old Jonah Payne were found just after noon yesterday in a 1½-acre, bacteria-filled sanitation pond.

"They were positively identified by the father," [Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John] Bankhead told reporters in a brief news conference Monday afternoon. "This has turned into a death investigation from a missing persons investigation. There's not much more I can say."

It was not immediately known whether the youngsters were the victims of foul play or just an accidental drowning, according to Bankhead, who said autopsies were planned for Tuesday morning.

While the pond had a fence, the fence had several holes large enough for children to get through.

Saturday afternoon Nicole had discovered how to unlock the front door to the family's home, and managed to get out with her older brother, but were found and returned by neighbors. That evening they managed to get out again, and their mother called the police after finding the front door again unlocked and open and the toddlers missing.

Posted by Danny Carlton at April 26, 2005 10:37 AM

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