Lawsuit against police dismissed in Tyler/Ariana Payne case

A recap: Tyler and Ariana Payne were abducted by their non-custodial father, Christopher Payne, in Tucson, Arizona in 2006. He took them from their mother, Jamie Hallam, for what was supposed to be a few days, and never gave them back. Hallam had full custody of the kids, who hadn’t seen their father in years. He had no visitation rights, but he convinced Hallam to let him see the kids. After a few months of trying to get Christopher to return the children, Hallam called the police. They located the children, but on the (bad) advice of Arizona’s Child Protective Services, refused to return them to their mother. Christopher, you see, had filed for temporary custody. Never mind that no decision had been made and Hallam, their mother who had raised them from birth without Christopher’s help, still had full custody. Never mind that Christopher was $19,000 behind in his child support payments. The kids stayed with their father.

A few months later, Tyler and Ariana were both dead, having been systematically starved and abused by their father and their stepmother, Reina Gonzales. Ariana’s body turned up in a storage locker in 2007, after Christopher the Genius stopped making the rent payments. (Way to evade detection, dumbass.) Tyler’s was never found. Christopher was sentenced to death and Gonzales to 22 years for the kids’ murders.

Hallam filed a lawsuit against CPS and the Tucson PD, arguing — quite rightly — that if they had just done their damn jobs properly and returned the kids to her, the custodial parent, then they wouldn’t have died. CPS settled and admitted they made “mistakes” in the case. And (I just found this out), back in October, the case against the police department was dismissed. According to this article:

In a nine-page decision released today, Judge Carmine Cornelio said there was no evidence on that day “that there was a high probability that substantial harm would result from their failure to remove the children from (Christopher Payne’s) custody and care.”


In his ruling, Cornelio pointed out the first time there was any indication there was anything wrong in the Payne household was in mid-April when one of Payne’s relatives said Ariana appeared “dirty and scrawny” and when Gonzales said Payne lost his job and began abusing the children.

“Given the lack of temporal connection between the time of TPD’s visit to Payne’s apartment on March 9, 2006, and any evidence concerning the abuse and neglect, plaintiffs cannot establish causation between TPD’s actions and the abuse of the children,” Cornelio wrote.

12 thoughts on “Lawsuit against police dismissed in Tyler/Ariana Payne case

  1. Candice December 9, 2010 / 8:20 pm

    This case is so heartbreaking…killed his kids so his ex wouldn’t have them.

    I should note that you write ‘Adriana’ a few times in his casefile instead of ‘Ariana’. And if you want to add his date of birth; its November 15 2001.

    • Meaghan December 9, 2010 / 8:21 pm

      Thanks. I will fix the Adriana thing and add his DOB next time I update. I plan to add a note about the police lawsuit being dismissed.

      • Candice December 9, 2010 / 8:35 pm

        No problem. Take care 🙂

      • Candice December 12, 2010 / 6:00 pm

        …and sorry to tell you this the day after you just updated his casefile, his middle name is Christopher.

    • forthelost December 10, 2010 / 2:54 pm

      Do you know Ariana’s DOB? (She’s listed on my “victims of family abduction” page along with her brother, and I’d like to list her birth date too.)

      • Candice December 10, 2010 / 2:58 pm

        Yes. Its October 18, 2002.

      • Candice December 12, 2010 / 6:01 pm

        If you want to add her middle name-its Socorro.

  2. Christine December 9, 2010 / 10:07 pm

    This story made me cry. How disgusting that these animals treated innocent children that way. If you did not want them, give them back to their mother, but no, out of spite and self loathing they kill the children. They should have killed themselves, not the children. I don’t buy that excuse, the father had a dysfunctional upbringing, boo hoo, no one wants to hear it. Go do your drugs, kill yourself and leave innocent children alone.

  3. Jill December 9, 2010 / 10:30 pm

    I don’t know if i should shoot you and Email, but about Jennika Feurestein, the streets actually run parallel to each other- McClintock and Dobson roads and one in Tempe, and the other is in Mesa. But roughly only 2 major lights and a free way apart. It is said on other sources Brown and Mesa Dr.

  4. Princess Shantae December 10, 2010 / 11:33 am

    This case is very sad and it is similar to the Deblase case going on right now in Alabama.
    Both parents are useless but the more useless one somehow gets the kids and they end up dead and nobody knows about it till somebody finally wonders hey, its been a few months or years since we saw them last, wonder where they are.

  5. Kat December 10, 2010 / 7:20 pm

    I’m so tired of these type of stories, it just makes me sick. Way too many people having kids they don’t want and can’t take care of. I will never wrap my mind around either keeping the legs shut or buying a damn condom. Better outcome. And, as an aside, Meaghan, I’m sorry we can’t comment on your story, but you have to do what is right for you and I hope you are doing ok if you read this :). Don’t worry about it forever, you did what you could do.

  6. forthelost December 13, 2010 / 4:21 pm

    Thanks – I’ll add those middle names.

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