LAS VEGAS (TCD) -- Investigators have reportedly determined than an 82-year-old woman found buried in her backyard died about three years before squatters dismembered her body and moved into her home.
KLAS-TV reports Lucille Payne's remains were discovered in April while police conducted a welfare check at the residence on the 8300 block of Shore Breeze Drive. A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department source told KLAS officers "noticed some suspicious things inside the home" when they arrived.
Police told KLAS, "After interviewing neighbors, (officers) were told they saw two people in the backyard last week and they appeared to be digging. After checking in the backyard metro discovered some human remains."
Payne's body was reportedly wrapped in blue plastic.
A new report by KLAS, however, says Payne was already dead by the time squatters came into her home. Investigators believe she died in 2018. Payne's body reportedly remained in a chair until discovered by squatters, who then dismembered and buried the corpse.
Las Vegas Metro Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told KLAS, "After finding her, the decision was made between several people that they were going to dismember her body and bury her and then basically drain her finances and sell off her belongings, fraudulently."
Spencer added, "She was not buried very deeply, and an officer started to move the dirt and found her arm inside a very shallow grave in the backyard."
The squatters, who remained unnamed, reportedly sold Payne's car as well as some of her other belongings.
Payne's cause and manner of death are no longer listed as homicide by blunt force injuries. KLAS reports the information was amended to undetermined.