Squatters dismember and bury elderly woman in yard to take her home

Lucille Payne’s death went unreported for three years

Bevan Hurley
Friday 12 November 2021 15:33
<p>Lucille Payne was buried in a shallow grave in her backyard</p>

Lucille Payne was buried in a shallow grave in her backyard

An 82-year-old woman who died in a chair in her Las Vegas home in 2018 was dismembered and buried in her backyard by squatters who found her mummified remains three years later, authorities say.

Lucille Payne’s death went unnoticed until squatters moved in in April and hatched a plan to bury her in a shallow grave and sell her belongings, according to Las Vegas police.

“After finding her, the decision was made between several people that they were going to dismember her body and bury her and then basically drain her finances and sell off her belongings, fraudulently,” homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told KLAS-TV.

The suspects, who have not been named, could face fraud or theft-related charges for selling Ms Payne’s car and improper burial.

Ms Payne lived alone, had no close relatives and police believe her death was not noticed because she had her bills paid automatically, KLAS reported.

Police found Ms Payne’s remains in this grave after receiving a tip from her neighbours

Police received a tip in April after neighbours reported they heard digging at the $435,000 property in Northwest Valley.

“She was not buried very deeply, and an officer started to move the dirt and found her arm inside a very shallow grave in the backyard,” Mr Spencer said.

The coroner initially ruled Ms Payne’s death was a homicide by blunt force trauma.

Evidence later showed she had been dead for several years. Her cause of death has since been changed to undetermined.

Ms Payne’s estate has put the house on the market.

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