Police Identify Girl Found In Storage Locker, Search For Brother Is On

Published: Mar. 6, 2007 at 1:55 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 22, 2007 at 7:29 PM MST
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Suleika Acosta KOLD News 13 Reporter

Disturbing new details in the murder of a four-year-old girl whose body was found stuffed in a plastic container two weeks ago.  Police have identified her as Ariana Payne.   Her suspected father Christopher Payne is charged with child abuse and first degree murder.

Now, police are trying to find Ariana's older brother, Tyler Payne, only one year older than Ariana. Police fear he could share the same fate as his sister.

"We suspect Tyler may be a victim of foul play, we can not find him," says Tucson Police Chief Richard Miranda.

The discovery of Ariana Payne dead in a storage facility led to the investigation of this missing boy, five-year-old Tyler Payne, her big brother.

Tucson police searched the Los Reales Landfill for any clues last week, not knowing what they were looking for, clothing or the body of the young boy. But police tell us they found nothing. We've learned the father of the children, Christopher Payne and their mother, Jamie Hallan were in a long custody battle at some point. Police say about a year ago, Hallan contacted them about the custody situation. Child protective services investigated. Payne had full custody of Ariana and Tyler, he even had the paperwork to prove it.

"The officers examined the two children and found them to be in good health and left them with Mr. Payne," says Miranda.

The couple has been divorced since 2003. Divorce papers say Hallan, at that time, had custody of the children and requested Payne have limited visitation. According to the documents, Hallan feared Payne would kidnap the children or harm them. Now three years later, Ariana is dead and her brother is missing.

"We are talking about the deaths of two young children who were defenseless. We're talking about two young children who had their whole lives ahead of them," adds Miranda.

Police ask that you call 88-Crime if you have any information on Tyler Payne. They are not revealing too much about the investigation in terms of what Christopher Payne is telling them. We do know that their mother is not a suspect. The children were never even reported missing. Police say Jaime Hallan had no contact with them for at least several months, so they believe she had nothing to do with their disappearances.