Wilson County man wanted in ax slaying of wife, father caught in California, deputies say

WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) — A man who killed his wife and father with an ax in their Wilson County home early Friday has been captured in California, officials say.

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Michael Allen Joyner, 38, left the dead bodies — along with his unharmed toddler locked in a room — in the family’s Evansdale Road home and caught a flight to Los Angeles, according to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.

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.

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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.

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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.

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