WILSON, N.C. (WNCN/WJHL)— A man accused of killing his wife and father with an ax in their Wilson County home early Friday has been captured in California, officials say.
Michael Joyner is accused of killing his wife, Michelle Joyner, 36, who is the mother of the toddler found alone in the home, officials said. Michael Joyner is also accused of killing his father, Dennis Ray Joyner, 63, who was the toddler’s grandfather, deputies said.
The toddler was found without injuries and was placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
Wilson County officials found Joyner’s vehicle at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and believed he took a plane to California, deputies said.
Around 11 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Joyner was arrested at a home in San Pedro, California, which is about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
“Michael Allen Joyner was arrested and taken into custody without incident,” deputies said.
The bodies and the Joyner’s unharmed toddler were found in the home at 4104 Evansdale Road around 7:30 p.m. Friday after someone called authorities to report Dennis Ray Joyner did not show up at work.
“This incident appears to be domestic in nature with an ax being the choice of weapon used to facilitate this crime,” Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard said in a news release.
Joyner’s neighbors remained shocked by the brutal deaths.
“I always see him out there in that yard, doing yard work,” said Benjamin Braswell. “Most times when I see him, him and his daddy, they’re out there in the yard playing with that baby all the time.”
Officials said they believe the killings happened early Friday morning.
Another neighbor was stunned by the incident.
“It really breaks my heart because I was worried about the baby when I heard two people were killed. I was like ‘who?’” Pamela Meeks said
Joyner is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail awaiting extradition.
News Channel 11 spoke to Michelle Joyner’s mother, Bonnie Coone, who lives in Johnson City, on Monday by phone.
Coone sent us the following statement:
My beautiful, witty daughter gone but in our hearts. She was talented as an artist, crafty, cheerful, loved her friends. No one was a stranger. She was a loving mother to her own and other’s children. She was a Christian and I know that she is in no more pain and is in the Light of Jesus. She met her husband and married him 2014. He took his bride to live in the home of Dennis Joyner, her father-in-law. Dennis thought the world of Michelle and grand-daughter and did a lot for them. Michelle loved cooking and did the meals. She was also a pastry chef when she lived in Johnson City. She was a very determined at all she did. Got her GED. Studied and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Business and Sciences. Loved her rocks and gems which she learned from her father Bill Coone at his Rocks’N’More Shop in Dillsboro, N.C. Loved creating jewelry and customer service. I can still hear her laughter. This woman will live on in our hearts.”
Coone told us Joyner also used to live in Johnson City.
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