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Man Arrested After Teenager’s Body Found In Closet

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Joseph Michael Payne

Joseph Michael Payne (credit: Harris County Sheriff’s Office)

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A man was arrested after a teenager’s body was found in her closet three years ago. According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, 32-year-old Joseph Michael Payne was charged with capital murder in the death of Trang Michelle Van. HCSO officials released the details of Payne’s arrest Friday in connection with Van’s murder.

Payne had already been in custody at the time of  the capital murder charge: “Payne has been in custody at the Harris County Jail since February of this year for unrelated charges including aggravated sexual assault and possession of child pornography,” added the HCSO.

Eighteen-year-old Van was found dead inside her home on Lazy Lagoon in Northwest Harris County back  on July 2 of 2009. Van’s father found her body.

Payne’s  arraignment will be on October 30, 2012 in the 248th Court. The teen’s cause of death was not released at the time of this report.

Cicely C. Mitchell/ CBS Radio Houston

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