53ºF

Woman believes body found in car is her brother's

Brother reported missing in 2013; car found submerged in Ribault River

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of a man who's been missing for more than two years now believes his mysterious disappearance has been solved.

James Tracy Wilson vanished on Jan. 4, 2013. His sister, Carol Pyane, told News4Jax that his car matches the description of a car pulled from the bottom of the Ribault River on Thursday -- with human remains inside.

The medical examiner's office is using dental records to try to identify the person found in the back seat of the car. Family members said they are almost 100 percent sure that the body is Wilson's.

A fisherman who noticed an oil slick on the surface of the trout river led dive teams to a submerged car several feet below. The car had been underwater for years, according to investigators.

"As soon as I saw the car on the tow truck, I knew it was his," Payne said.

Payne said the vehicle description and license plate on the car match that of her younger brother, who she affectionately calls Tracy. She said police have surveillance video of Wilson eating at a Wendy's on Lem Turner Road on Jan. 4, 2013 -- the last time anyone saw him alive.

Payne said she thinks her brother, who had mild autism, might have harmed himself.

"I don't feel like anybody did, because when my father passed away he said if he knew how to harm himself he would, because he was just so close with the family," Payne said. "But I think now the family can put an ending to that and carry on and know that he's in heaven."

Payne said the family combed the woods of Jacksonville for two years and every time police found a body, his family showed up on the scene. She said even though a positive identification might not come for weeks, in her heart, she knows her brother has been found.

"To be honest, I slept a little better last night," Payne said. "I was thinking before, 'Where can I go now? What woods can I roam?' But yes, our family will come together and we'll have him buried with our parents, and it will just be us, and it will be closure for the family."