Tyler Christopher Payne
Tyler, approximately 2006; Ariana Payne; Jamie Hallam; Christopher Payne; Reina Gonzales
Date reported missing : 03/01/2006
Missing location (approx) :
Missing classification : Endangered Missing
Gender : Male
DOB : 11/15/2001 (19)
Age at the time of disappearance: 4 years old
Height / Weight : 3'0, 60 pounds
Distinguishing characteristics, birthmarks, tattoos
: Caucasian male. Brown hair, brown eyes. Tyler has a small freckle on his foot and a speech impediment.
Information on the case from local sources, may or may not be correct : Tyler lived in Tucson, Arizona with his three-year-old sister Ariana Socorro Payne; his father, Christopher Mathew Payne; and Christopher's girlfriend, Reina Irene Gonzales. They lived in an apartment at Portofino Apartments on west 36th Street in Tucson, Arizona.
Tyler and Ariana's mother, Jamie Marie Hallam, had full custody of them. Christopher and Gonzales have a son, Christopher Mathew Payne Jr., who was born in 2004; Hallam has two additional children by other men. Photographs of Hallam, Christopher Sr., Gonzales and Ariana are posted with this case summary.
Hallam and Christopher married in 2002, when Tyler was two months old, but they separated after only a year. Christopher was supposed to pay child support for the children, but by 2006 he was about $19,000 behind in his payments. He had a criminal record dating back to 1994 for misdemeanor offenses including domestic violence and drug- and alcohol-related charges, and he had no custodial rights towards his children.
Beginning in December 2005, however, Christopher had wanted to be involved in the children's lives, so Hallam allowed him to visit them. In late January 2006, she permitted Christopher to take Tyler and Ariana for a weekend visit. He never returned them, kept making various excuses to extend their stay, and eventually stopped answering her phone calls. In March, she called 911 to ask for help in recovering her children.
In 2005, Child Protection Services (CPS) had gotten an anonymous complaint that Hallam and her boyfriend were abusing methamphetamine and neglecting her children. They investigated and found the complaint unsubstantiated, but the case on Hallam wasn't actually closed until the following year. She has a history of drug abuse but maintains that by 2005, she'd been substance-free for two years.
After Hallam sought help from the authorities to get her children back from Christopher, presenting the court documents that proved she had custody of them, the police asked CPS for advice.
A caseworker, Cindy Graupmann, told them Hallam was under investigation and being uncooperative. This was incorrect; Hallam had cooperated fully with the CPS investigation and the case had been closed.
Christopher had called CPS himself in February to say Hallam had "left" the children with him but was now trying to take them back. Graupmann encourAge at the time of disappearance: d him to apply for temporary custody, although she'd never met him, never checked into his criminal background and never asked him to do a drug test. She and her supervisor told the police Ariana and Tyler were better off with their father.
After speaking with CPS, law enforcement elected to take no further action, and so Tyler and Ariana remained with their father, although Hallam still had full custody, the drug abuse and neglect case against her had been closed, and there is no record that Christopher even applied for custody. A police officer did see both children and they appeared happy and healthy at the time. Hallam never saw them again.
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