CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Dunbar man suffocated his girlfriend and threw her body onto the bank of the Kanawha River, police said.
Bobby Ray Kanode Jr., 56, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tonya Payne, 35. Kanode was arraigned Monday evening in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
Payne, who is also known as Tonya Atkinson, was found dead around 3:30 p.m. Monday between Kroger and the bridge on the Dunbar side of the river, police said. Authorities said Payne was found partially clothed and partly submerged in the water.
Payne was killed late Friday night or early Saturday morning, according to police.
Dunbar Police Chief Jess Bailes said Kanode came to the Dunbar Police Department around 6:30 p.m. Monday and told officers he had information related to the crime.
Kanode went with detectives to be transported to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department for questioning. He was read his Miranda rights, which was recorded using a digital voice recorder, according to the complaint. Kanode then started to make statements to detectives and admitted to killing Payne, police said.
Kanode told detectives Payne came to his home Friday night and the two started arguing, according to the complaint. Kanode said Payne broke some of his belongings, and during the course of the dispute, he pushed her down onto her back on the bed. Kanode told detectives he sat on her chest and held his hand over her mouth and nose in order to suffocate her, the complaint read. He did this for five minutes, until she was dead, Kanode said.
No calls to emergency services were made, Kanode said in his statement.
Kanode said he stayed in his home with Payne's body for about three hours. Around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, Kanode took a shopping cart from the Dunbar Aldi's back to his home and placed Payne's body -- clothed only in underwear and a pink shirt -- in the cart. Kanode told officers he pushed Payne's body west on Charles Avenue, south on 12th Street, then south through the 12th Street pedestrian plaza toward the Dunbar Toll Bridge, the complaint read.