A body found by hunters on Monday morning near South Sandy Road in Tuscaloosa County, has now been identified. The Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit is investigating the case as a murder.

Michael Belcher, 31 of Centreville and Chylli Bruce, 18, of Brent have been charged with capital murder in Payne’s death. Investigators believe Payne was assaulted in Bibb County and then driven to the South Sandy Road area in Tuscaloosa County by Belcher, Bruce and other persons on or around November 2, 2015.
Authorities think this is when and where Payne was murdered.
Police believe the victim and suspects were together in Bibb County the night of November 1, 2015.
The morning of November 2, 2015 Tuscaloosa and Hale County deputies made contact with Belcher, Bruce and other persons on South Sandy Road on a suspicious person report.
Bruce and a man named Stephen George, 27 of Brent, were arrested on drug charges that morning.
Payne and her cousin Andrea Nix grew up together. Nix says Samantha was one of the kindest people she’s ever known. Belcher and Bruce are being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail with no bond.
The cause of death and motive are not being released at this time. More suspects could face charged in this case. Nix tells WVUA 23 Payne’s high school classmates are in the process of organizing an event to honor their friend.

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