Two men arrested and charged in the 2019 Martin Payne homicide investigation

West Shore, Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit

2020-06-12 21:16 PDT

James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage have been charged with one count each of first degree murder, in relation to Martin Payne’s death.

In the early morning hours of July 8, 2019 West Shore RCMP received a report that two individuals had escaped from a federal institution. Immediately upon receiving the report, the West Shore RCMP commenced an investigation and search for the men, in co-operation with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). Public alerts and appeals for information were issued and law enforcement agencies were notified. On July 9 at approximately 8:00 p.m. James Lee Busch and Zachary Armitage were located and arrested. The arrest took place after an off duty RCMP officer spotted the escapees in Esquimalt and contacted 911 for the Victoria Police Department to respond.

On July 12, 2019, The West Shore RCMP attended a residence in the 1000-block of Brookview Drive, Metchosin, to check the well-being of 60-year-old Martin Payne, who had failed to show up for work. When officers arrived, they found Mr. Payne deceased inside his residence. Given the circumstances at the scene, criminality was suspected and the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) was called to investigate.

The 11-month investigation, led by VIIMCU, involved police officers from several police agencies including; West Shore RCMP, the BC RCMP Major Crime Section, Forensic Identification Section, and Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay Police departments, states Superintendent Sanjaya Wijayakoon, the Operations Officer of the BC RCMP Major Crime Section.

Chief Superintendent Sean Sullivan would like to personally thank and recognize all the men and women in policing who worked on this investigation. We are fortunate to have such dedicated and committed officers and employees.

"Our condolences go out to Martin Payne’s family and friends.," says Inspector Todd Preston, Officer in Charge of the West Shore RCMP. "We know that this has been a very difficult time for the community and citizens of the West Shore and in particular, Metchosin. We want to thank the citizens for their patience in the investigative process"

Statement from Martin Payne’s family

Marty was deeply loved by his tight circle of friends and family and we have continued to mourn his senseless loss every day for the past 11 months. The man who was taken from us was an exceptionally gentle and caring human being whose love, support, and encouragement were unfailing.

We are completely devastated and have been relying heavily on one another throughout this horrifying ordeal. At this time, we would like to thank everyone who has supported us directly or indirectly and all of the law enforcement agencies that have worked tirelessly on this case. We also humbly request that our privacy is respected as we continue to deal with our profound grief.


Previous news releases

Press release August 14th 2019

Press release July 15th 2019

Press release July 10th 2019


Released by

Cpl. Chris Manseau

Division Media Relations Officer
BC RCMP Communication Services
14200 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, BC V3T 6P3 - Mailstop #1608
Office: 778-290-3791
Cell: 250-413-7954


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