HCSO: Man already jailed for sex assault, child porn linked to Cy-Fair teen’s cold case murder

HCSO:  Man already jailed for sex assault, child porn linked to Cy-Fair teen’s cold case murder

HCSO: Man already jailed for sex assault, child porn linked to Cy-Fair teen’s cold case murder

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on October 26, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 4:21 PM

HOUSTON—A man already serving time for 10 counts of child pornography and sex assault has been linked to a teen’s brutal murder three years ago, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division.

Joseph Michael Payne, 32, has been charged with capital murder in the stabbing death of 18-year-old Trang Michelle Van.

Van was found dead in her home in the 10100 block of Lazy Lagoon on July 2, 2009.

Van’s family became concerned after she missed a planned meeting with a relative. After the relative called several times and could not reach her, family members went to find out what was wrong. That is when Van’s father found her body inside a closet in the house.

Investigators searched for answers and Crime Stoppers offered a hefty reward, but the case went cold.

Investigators said Payne, who had been in jail since February 2012, began to leak information to other inmates. They were also able to link him to Van’s death through an IP address on a computer.

Van had just graduated from high school and had hopes of becoming a teacher before her life was cut short.

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