Four years later, the search for Donnie Payne continues
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -- The family of a missing Bradley County man is determined to find answers in his disappearance. Four years ago Donnie Payne vanished without a trace.
The family of Donnie Payne returned to his Cleveland neighborhood where he went missing. They say they are not going to stop spreading the word about his disappearance until they find out what happened.
"I think he would have really appreciated what we're doing today. And we're trying to do something to honor him," says Payne's niece, Lisa Lehman.
Lehman says September 14th, 2008 was the last time anyone saw her uncle, 73-year-old Donnie Payne. He was out collecting aluminum cans near an apartment complex when he disappeared.
"The toughest part for us has been not knowing," she says.
His family returned to his neighborhood in hopes of finding answers. Payne was known to help those in need, even though he did not have much himself.
In his honor, his family passed out free food to the community while also passing out flyers. "I'm not sure if people are afraid to talk. But I need to urge them it's the right thing to do," says Lehman.
Lehman and other family members say Payne's disappearance is suspicious and are convinced someone in his neighborhood knows what happened. "One little tip could solve this case and end this family's misery and lay Donnie to rest," says Lehman.
"We're afraid people are going to forget and we're not stopping. We're going to go until we find out who did it and why they did it and they're put away," says Payne's sister, Wilma Black.
Black says she has come to terms that her brother is gone. "I know he's not here anymore, he's gone. But he'll never be forgotten"
But four years later, it still hurts. "I made a promise to him that I would continue to be his voice. That I would not stop talking for him," says Lehman.
And she will not rest until her uncle can. "He's not able to rest in peace until we can find him."
This is still an active missing person's case. If you have any information, contact the Bradley County Sheriff's Office at (423) 728-7400.
The family has also set up its own tip line and is offering a $1,000 reward for information that will solve the case. That number is (770) 926-6072.