Family holds dove release ceremony in honor of missing man
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- More than three years after his disappearance, the family of 73-year-old, Donnie Lee Payne, still wants answers. Saturday they held a dove release ceremony in his honor.
Payne was last seen September 14th, 2008 collecting aluminum cans by an apartment complex near Lowery Street.
Payne's family is convinced foul play is somehow involved in his disappearance. That's why they held the ceremony in his neighborhood, to remind the community they haven't forgotten.
It was an emotional moment for the family, as the doves were released and they watched them fly away. To them the ceremony is their way of finally saying goodbye to Payne.
A small crowd of close friends and family members gathered in a church parking lot near Payne's home. The group prayed, held hands and shared memories of their loved one.
A poster displayed reads, 'Who Killed Donnie Payne?', and asks anyone with information to contact investigators.
"We believe that somebody knows something," says Payne's niece, Lisa Lehman. "Someone knows the slightest bit of information, and we want to let them know to contact us."
"We know he's already gone," says Payne's sister, Wilma Black. "This ceremony is in his memory."
Investigators have followed up on numerous leads in the past three years, only to come up empty handed.
Just recently they asked for the public's help again. If you know anything about the disappearance of Donnie Payne please call the Bradley County Sheriff's Office at 423-728-7336.
You can also contact the family directly through their own tip line at 1-770-926-6072.