UPDATE: Missing Lacey’s Spring Man Found Dead, Investigation Continues

Posted on: 4:45 pm, January 1, 2014, by and , updated on: 09:27pm, January 2, 2014

LACEY’S SPRING, Ala. (WHNT) – Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin confirms that the body  found in a dry creek bed near Dry Creek Cove Road belongs to 74-year-old Franklin Payne, missing since early December.

Franklin said that an autopsy will need to be performed on the body, but she feels confident that the body is Payne’s.

Family members say not knowing here Payne had gone was “heartbreaking.” Three days after Payne was last seen his two small dogs came back to the home. His body was found in an area where search crews patrolled from the air with a helicopter and on the ground with dogs but were not able to locate the missing man. Sheriff Franklin says two hikers discovered the body Wednesday afternoon and called authorities to the scene.

Sheriff investigators used horses and ATVs to get to the exact location where the body was found. She said the body was in a dry creek bed.

Franklin Payne, 74, went missing from his home on Pinehill Circle in Lacey’s Spring 22 days ago. Payne, who was diagnosed with dementia, lived close to family members who were caring for him.

The Sheriff’s Office received some tips and possible sightings, but none led them to finding Payne.

Several agencies helped in the initial search in Lacey’s Spring, including the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Lacey’s Spring Volunteer Fire Department and the Morgan County Rescue Squad.



  • Jessica Payne says:

    I hope that our uncle Frank is ok am it’s not him.

  • Shannon says:

    The elder man with dementia that went missing was my first thought. I wonder how far the body was from the missing man’s home. Bless his heart.

  • R says:

    My son and his friends were hiking and found his body about 3:40 today

  • Jessica Payne says:

    Oh my it was him I’m traumatized

  • praying for his family n friends

  • My thoughts and prayers are with the family.God bless you.

  • valerie says:

    So unfortunate. Keeping his family in our prayers

  • William Billy says:

    Dementia is a cruel disease. I know how his family feels. If you think a loved one may have Alzheimer’s or dementia, please get a clear medical opinion. Plenty of info out there to research.

  • Kaycee says:

    So sad this ended this way. Sheriff Franklin dropped the ball on this one. Instead of worrying about the “mobile command unit” being out on the side of hwy 36 where everyone would see it (because its campaign season) she should have been set up closer to his home. He didn’t wander off all that far. Had she been more concerned with finding him and less concerned with her getting media coverage, could have been a completely different ending. And the bullcrap she spewed about her and her posse being on a training mission over new years was another complete lie. They were at Rock Bridge Canyon equestrian park ringing in the new year. They weren’t searching for anything but the bottom of a beercan or wine bottle. You can call over there and ask those in attendance at the park, we were all aware of that group. She just wanted an excuse for being out of county again when something major happened. And I guess she needed an excuse for pulling up with a horse trailer at the scene. I hope this county finally sees her for what she really is. And I wish WHNT would start actually doing some stories about what is happening at the sheriffs office, not keep letting her spoonfeed them their stories about her. Prayers for Mr. Paynes family.

  • Sue says:

    Sad! I was hoping one of the dogs would go back to his residence to get someone to follow him and take them to where he was located. I know at one time the group looking for him tracked the dogs to the side of the highway. They seemed to think he may have gotten a ride. May he Rest in peace!

  • Janet Stratman says:

    So, so, sad that Morgan County Sheriff Franklin is “fudging” the truth. Snoop around and you will find out the truth.

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