ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Leah Sandusky and her family woke this morning to see Orange County deputies looking over a car on the other side of a drainage ditch behind their Taft-area home. The Sheriff’s Office says a woman was found dead inside the trunk, just hours after she called 911 to report her abduction.
The 25-year-old victim, identified as Jasmine Samuel, placed the call around 12:34 a.m. and told dispatchers that she was being forced into the trunk of her car and gave them a general area of where she had been kidnapped. Investigators say they went on an extensive search and found the vehicle around 2:05 a.m. on 11th Avenue, just a few blocks west of Boggy Creek Road.
"I saw them tow the car out. I didn't know anything about a dead body, until this morning," Sandusky said.
According to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Samuel was working at Sonoco Product, at 1854 Central Florida Parkway, in what is described as an industrial park. At about 12:30 a.m., Samuel was taking a break and walked outside to the parking lot. Sheriff Demings said she encountered 62-year-old David Payne, whom detectives have identified as one of Samuel's former boyfriends.
Demings said Payne forced Samuel into the trunk of her 2014 black Nissan Maxima, and from inside of the trunk, she was able to dial 911 and alerts authorities. Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate Payne. Detectives have since obtained an arrest warrant for Payne, charging him with first-degree murder and armed kidnapping.
"Do not approach Payne, as he is considered armed and dangerous. He has a violent criminal history, including a homicide arrest dating back to 1972," said Demings, who added that he also served prison time for an aggravated assault conviction.
Authorities say a firearm is involved in the case, but no other details were released on how Samuels died.
"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Jasmine Samuel, and with the help of the people here in Orange County, we should be able to bring some semblance of justice to this family," Sheriff Demings said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).