Clovis body identified as 52-year-old

Freedom Newspapers

Fingerprints have established the identity of a body discovered in Clovis Tuesday as that of a 52-year-old transient with ties to Arizona and California, according to Clovis police.

Howard Payne’s badly decomposed remains were found in an abandoned house near Wal-Mart, according to police. There were no signs of foul play at the scene, police said.

Medical examiners have not ruled on the cause of death and are awaiting toxicology results, which could take months, a police press release said.

Payne’s daughter in California was notified of the death, the release said.

Police responded Tuesday morning to 701 Arizona after two local teens reported seeing a body in the house. Police concluded the body had been there several weeks based on advanced decomposition.

Payne was known to sit in medians near the entrance to Wal-Mart with a sign asking for assistance. People from neighboring businesses told police they had not seen Payne for at least a month.

Record searches based on identification found near the body indicated Payne had been in the area several months and had received indigent services and medical care, police said.