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Tara Savannah Payne's Family Searching For Answers After Her Body Was Recovered From Water Near Baltimore's Canton Neighborhood

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A tragic update on a missing person case in Baltimore Thursday afternoon as the remains of missing 26-year-old Tara Savannah Payne were found in the water near Canton.

Her body was recovered just off of the 1200 block of Dockside Circle, police confirmed.

On Monday, police said her death was accidental. 

Her grieving family said they still need more answers.

"As far as the investigation, I don't feel it's wrapped up," Jimmy Payne, her father, said. "We're glad that Savannah was brought home to us, we're thankful for the community for the outpouring of people from Canton, in the city."

For Jimmy Payne, who worked previously as a Baltimore City firefighter and diver, what's happened Thursday was a nightmare.

His daughter, who was last seen celebrating her birthday with friends in Canton early Tuesday morning, found dead after an extensive search.

Savannah went out to celebrate her birthday Monday night and disappeared sometime early Tuesday morning after getting separated from her friends. She was last seen along O'Donnell Street in Canton Square.

Her family is working with police to track down the truth.

"There's little information that's confirmed, but there's a lot of misinformation on Facebook, social media and so forth," Jimmy Payne said.

Baltimore City Police's Marine Unit, with the help of the Natural Resources Police, searched the water near Bo Brooks and The Lighthouse Point Marina. They said Wednesday they believed Savannah fell into the water.

The family is now focused on remembering a woman, friend and daughter who brought them so much joy.

Savannah's dad told WJZ his daughter was a good person with lots of friends and a loving family.

"Everyone loved her and she loved everyone," Jimmy Payne said.

Jimmy Payne said going to the beach will never be the same.

"It'll be much better," he said. "Because I know she's at peace and she's at the beach."

The family said they felt supported by city police, fire and the divers who were searching for Savannah.

They said will be remembered for her big heart and loving spirit.

"Savannah is in love with the beach like I am. Her passion is the beach, being with her friends, being with her family. She loves Taco, the family dog, and she loves her brother," her father said.

A memorial in honor of the life of Tara Savannah Payne in Canton. (Photo Credit: Sonia Dasgupta).

Longtime friend, Colin Koogle, said he's still trying to figure out what happened to her that night.

"She was going out for her birthday, and she was going out to have fun," he said. "I don't know what the hell happened and that right there is not where she should have been."

Rachel Burns said no one is surprised by the amount of love and support coming from the community because Savannah deserves it.

"Anytime I needed her, I could call her," Burns said. "She was there no matter what."

The water search started Wednesday as thousands shared images of the missing Anne Arundel County woman online.

Her aunt said Savannah's car was left where she parked it and her purse was found along Boston Street.

Residents said they heard a commotion in the area at the time Payne went missing and say when they called 911 it took an hour to respond.

But during a press conference Friday, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said his office looked into the police response time and said nothing was improper about their response.

"We did look into it with the police department and then they responded out in a proper manner and in the future. Unfortunately, this is a tragic incident with this young lady. I'm sure in the future the police commissioner and folks will be able to share more information," Scott said.

Get alerts from WJZ first! Follow WJZ on Facebook and download the app. This story was originally published on March 25, 2021.

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