Police have ‘persons of interest’ in murder of Metchosin man Martin Payne

Police say “persons of interest” have been identified in the murder of Martin Payne, whose body was found in his Metchosin home July 12.

Headway is being made in the case by the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, said West Shore RCMP Staff Sgt. Raj Sandhu.

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“As a result of the investigation’s progress, police wish to inform the community of Greater Victoria that there is no reason to believe the public is at risk,” he said. “We cannot discuss Mr. Payne’s murder in detail as this is an active investigation.”

Sandhu thanked the public and residents of Metchosin for their patience as investigators do their work.

West Shore RCMP found Payne, a 60-year-old provincial-government employee, dead in his Brookview Drive house after receiving a call saying that he was missing from work. A pickup truck that turned out to be Payne’s was found July 9 on Woodburn Avenue by Oak Bay police.

In online responses to his death, people called him a kind and generous man, while he referred to himself an “ordinary, average guy” on his Facebook page.

His neighbours gathered on a bridge over the area’s Bilston Creek to honour his memory.

The Ministry of Citizens’ Services, which oversees B.C. Mail Plus where Payne worked, issued a statement just after the death was discovered: “This situation is tragic and our hearts and thoughts go out to Martin’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

As part of the investigation, police are asking for help in identifying the owner of a backpack located July 9. It is navy-blue with beige lettering and is a Journeys by Jerry Van Dyke brand.

Contact the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit at 250-380-6211 with any information on the backpack or the case itself.

Police found Payne’s body in the same week that two violent offenders escaped from Metchosin’s William Head prison, but no links have been announced. Metchosin Mayor John Ranns has called for improvements in how the municipality is informed about escapes.

James Busch, 42, and 30-year-old Zachary Armitage are scheduled for an Aug. 29 court appearance.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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