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Payson police on Friday were investigating an apparent homicide after a man was found dead in a parking lot of an abandoned gas station.

The victim, a male who appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s, was found about 9:30 p.m., Payson Lt. Bill Wright said. Police aren't yet certain how the man died.

"We can't tell," Wright said.

An autopsy will be conducted by the state medical examiner, Wright said.

Police were interviewing several witnesses from an adjacent Quality Inn motel, 830 N. Main St., to determine whether anyone saw the man prior to the discovery of his body, Wright said.

Officers were also trying to determine whether there was any link between the dead man and the driver of a car who fled from police on foot when he was pulled over for a traffic violation near 400 S. Main. Wright said the stop occurred just a few minutes before the 911 call that reported the dead body. Officers gave chase and apprehended the driver who was being questioned late Friday night, Wright said.

A Quality Inn employee who answered the phone Friday night said several employees saw what happened, but that they had been told not to talk to the news media.

The apparent homicide is Payson's second for the year, Wright said.


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