JOHNSON COUNTY, Tenn. - No motive, no suspect, and no murder weapons. That's the situation for state and local law officers investigating the murders of a Johnson County couple and that's building fear among those who live near the crime scene.
Neighbors living on James Davis Lane said Bill Payne Junior and Billie Hayworth were a nice, young couple that had everything going for them.
It's no surprise just looking at the yellow tape that hardly any neighbors got some sleep Tuesday night and some tell me it's a living nightmare. "I just keep hoping I wake up and this is just a dream, that it didn't happen. But I know that it happened because I look out and see the yellow tape," said neighbor Bruce Beeding.
That's because investigators with the Johnson County Sheriff's Department are still piecing together the murder of Bill Payne, Jr. and Billie Hayworth. Sheriff Mike Reece told News 5 that currently there are no suspects, but he said someone knew the family's routine. "There's a gentleman that picks [Bill] up at 6:30 to go to work and he stopped at the residence at 6:30 to pick him up with no answer at the doors. So we're looking at an hour time frame to when this happened," said Sheriff Reece.
What investigators do know is that it was a grisly discovery made by a family friend just after 10:30 Tuesday morning inside the home on James Davis Lane. "Both individuals were shot in the head. Mr. Payne's throat was cut [and it] appeared to be postmortem," said Reece.
Right now the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is helping local law enforcement by talking with friends, family, and neighbors. "Somebody had some revenge it seemed. Don't know what the motive is but I believe when we find out there's going to be some revenge here for some reason," said Sheriff Reece.
For their neighbors, it's a mix of emotions ranging from being scared to heartbreak. "I can't believe when I leave my house I'm never ever going to see them again," said Marilyn Beeding.
Beeding said she just keeps asking herself one question. "Why didn't we hear something," she asked. "Why weren't we there to help them in their time when they could have used somebody to be there and fight for them?"
Anyone with information is urged to call the Johnson County Sheriff's Department at (423) 727-7761.
News 5 also learned the couple's eight-month-old baby is now in custody of his grandmother.
- Updated Lightning strikes BVU sub station in North Bristol, 3,700 customers without power
- Johnson City woman forces her way into occupied motel room
- Thousands of flags placed on veterans' graves for Memorial day
- Foreign suspect sends bomb threat by fax to Meadowview Center in Kingsport
- Elizabethton Police investigating toddler's death