DUNBAR, W.Va. – A Dunbar man is charged with murder after the body of his girlfriend was discovered on the bank of the Kanawha River. Students on a school bus spotted the body Monday afternoon lying partially in the water below the Dunbar toll bridge.
Police identified the victim Tonya Payne, 35, of Dunbar. She’s also known as Tonya Atkinson.
A few hours after the discovery, police say Bobby Ray Kanode Jr. 56, of Dunbar arrived at the police station. He was charged with first degree murder.
The criminal complaint in the case indicated Payne came to Kanode’s Dunbar home late Friday night and the two got into an argument. During the argument, Kanode claims his girlfriend broke several things and made him angry. He told police he sat on her chest and held his hand over her mouth for five minutes until she was dead.
Kanode said he sat in his home with the body for about three hours until he went to the nearby Aldi’s grocery store and took a shopping cart about 2 a.m. Saturday. Kanode told police he loaded Payne’s body into the shopping cart, clad only in underwear and a shirt, and wheeled her through the streets of Dunbar until reaching the river. There he claimed he dumped her body off a fishing barge at the river’s edge.
He’s being held without bond in the South Central Regional Jail.