Jordan Payne

School photo of a young boy with a buzz cut and a red checkered shirt. His skin is brown, and his eyes are dark brown.Name: Jordan Payne.
Died: February 10, 2002.
Age at death: 5.
Cause of death: Drowning.
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida, USA.

Even though he was both deaf and autistic, Jordan liked being with people. If someone took his hand, he would follow them. He would run to greet people when he saw them.

Jordan went to play at a canal across the street from his father’s house (his parents were separated, and he was staying with his father that weekend)–but he never came home. His body was found the next day in the canal. Two ten-year-old neighbor boys told the police that Jordan had been pushed into the canal by a 17-year-old neighbor.

The 17-year-old, who was himself disabled, was charged as an adult and convicted of manslaughter. However, a judge overturned the verdict because police had not ensured that he was properly informed of his right to a lawyer during questioning.

Editor’s note: It is unknown to what extent the police’s error affected the case; and though a new trial was ordered by the judge, I can find no evidence that it ever took place. Whether this was an accident or a case of manslaughter may never be known.

Gorman ROBERTS, Jr., Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Autistic drowning in Florida
Autistic boy’s death still a mystery
Police arrest 17-year-old in Drowning Death of Autistic Boy
Teen charged as adult in autistic boy’s death
Mother testifies in case of drowned autistic boy
Teen guilty of manslaughter in drowning death of autistic boy
Jordan Payne

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