12/18/2014

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Search for missing woman leads investigators to wells, garbage pits

Search for missing woman leads investigators to wells, garbage pits
Detectives search a property in Winlock, Wash. after receiving tips that a woman might have been killed and dumped there. In the end, they found nothing but a dog carcass. Photo courtesy of the Lewis County Sheriff's Office.
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WINLOCK, Wash. - The search for a young woman missing for three years has intensified following the shocking revelation that a man in Ohio kept three women imprisoned for a decade.

Kayla Croft-Payne was last seen in April of 2010 and although her face has faded from the headlines over time, her family has not given up hope that she will someday be found.

"She's important," her aunt, Karen Hinton, told KATU News earlier this week. "She doesn't need to be forgotten. She needs to come home."

Investigators spent two days this week at a property in the 1500 block of Ferrier Road in Winlock, Wash., following up on tips that the young woman might have been killed and dumped somewhere on the property, perhaps even thrown down a well.

The property owners gave the Lewis County Sheriff's Office permission to search and detectives spent hours digging through mounds of garbage, draining a 35-foot well and excavating another well that had been recently filled in with garbage and debris.

The only thing they found was a dog carcass.

"The search was long and exhaustive," said Sheriff Steve Mansfield with the Lewis County Sheriff's Office. "The detectives worked very hard and were extremely diligent and thorough in the process of searching this property. This case has been troubling for our office and we still hope to find Kayla and bring closure to her family and friends."

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Lewis County Sheriff's Office at (360) 748-9286 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-748-6422.

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