Local Man Killed, Suspect In Custody

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A body found off Highway 87 in Maricopa County led to a murder scene in Payson this weekend.

The deceased was Mitchell Allen Gingry, 36, of Payson.

Charles Homer Johnson, 54, also of Payson, was arrested in Maricopa County May 20, and charged with second-degree homicide in the death of Gingry.

Gingry's body was found in the early morning hours of May 19 near milepost 209 of the Beeline Highway in Maricopa County.

Evidence brought Maricopa County Sheriff's detectives to Payson. The police accompanied investigators to a home on the 700 block of West Colt Drive where it is believed the murder took place.

Gingry had resided in Payson since at least September 1981 and was employed at Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company.

Gingry shared the home on West Colt with Laura Lee Hansen, 54. Hansen had not been seen or heard from since May 18. Police suspected Hansen's disappearance to be the result of foul play and were searching for her, along with Johnson and a 1985 four-door, white Cadillac.

Information led officers to a residence in Phoenix where they found Johnson and Hansen.

Hansen had been beaten, but did not need hospitalization, Lt. Don Engler said. He said the Payson Police Department was considering making additional charges against Johnson in regard to Hansen.

"We're still not real clear on what caused (the murder)," Engler said.

A friend of Gingrey's said the man rented a room from Hansen.

"He was a good guy and liked to joke around a lot," the friend said. "He could be serious, but down deep he liked to have fun."

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