Carolann Payne

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Above: Payne, circa 1985

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: August 1985 from Deschutes County, Oregon
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: January 5, 1950
  • Age: 35 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'0 - 5'1, 150 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Payne's nickname is Nikki. She may use the first name Carol or the last name Wagner. Her maiden name is Lung and her previous married name is Rittgens. Payne has crooked front teeth. She has surgical scars near her anus from a prolapsed colon as well as surgical scars on her abdomen from two Caesarean sections, a tubal ligation and a duodenal hematoma.
  • Medical Conditions: Payne has been diagnosed with depression and spent two months in a psychiatric hospital in early 1985 after a suicide attempt. She is allergic to several types of medicaton, including Empirin, codeine and the penicillin-based antibiotics erythromycin, tetracycline, and mycins.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Payne was last seen in Deschutes County, Oregon sometime in August 1985. She was a drifter without a fixed address, a bank account or any credit cards, so the exact date of her disappearance is unclear. However, she usually called her family at least once every month or two. She hasn't used her Social Security number, made any financial transactions or had any encounters with the police since 1985.

    Payne was born in Duluth, Minnesota and has lived in Iowa, Illinois and California as well as Oregon. She has prior work experience as a waitress, sales associate, bartender and dog groomer. She has two children and is twice divorced.

    Joel Terrence Abbott was convicted of Payne's murder in 1993 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was initially convicted of aggravated murder, but the judge reduced the charge to intentional murder because he decided there was insufficient evidence that Abbott had kidnapped Payne, and kidnapping was necessary to sustain the aggravated murder charge.

    Abbott was Payne's former boyfriend. People who knew him testified he had a violent temper around women, and he had previously assaulted Payne with a knife. A friend of Abbott's who was a police informant secretly recorded him saying he'd shot Payne in the back and the head with a high-powered rifle. He told the same story to his ex-wife. Prosecutors believe he "went to great lengths" to conceal Payne's body, which has never been found. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Deschutes County Sheriff's Department

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    Source Information
    The Bend Bulletin
    The Corvallis Gazette-Times
    Official Cold Case Investigations
    NamUs
    The Statesman Journal

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 1, 2017; details of disappearance updated.

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