11/20/07 — Dead man found in woods identified

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Dead man found in woods identified

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 20, 2007 1:46 PM

Goldsboro police investigators said they have identified a man found shot to death on Sunday night in woods behind a home off Salem Church Road.

The body of Joseph Antonio Payan, 33, last known to live on North Webb Street in Selma, was found by a Granville Drive resident on Sunday.

Investigator Dave Cloutier said today that Payan's vehicle had been recovered somewhere in Johnston County on Monday.

Cloutier said their investigation turned up the car -- police knew where to go find it, he said -- but not any motive in the homicide yet.

"We're still talking to witnesses and still trying to run down leads," Cloutier said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Chad Calloway confirmed Monday that there was no apparent gang connection.

Police had already made their identification on Monday, but were not able to notify next of kin and release a name until early today, they said.

Detectives from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office have been collaborating with Goldsboro city investigators, Sheriff Carey Winders and Capt. Tom Effler said.

Angila Sutton, the Granville Drive resident who discovered the body, said she counted eight gunshots behind her house on Saturday night after seeing a vehicle enter the wooded area.

She called neighbors to warn them when she saw flashlight beams scanning the woods, then dialed 911 when she heard the shots, she said.

Mrs. Sutton and her husband stumbled on the body after Mrs. Sutton insisted the couple investigate after church on Sunday afternoon.

Police initially hesitated to release Payan's race because of his condition after Mrs. Sutton found him.

One witness thought the victim might have been black, but Payan is Hispanic, Calloway said.

City and county law enforcement authorities have been working on the homicide since Sunday afternoon.