Mother, son found dead after being swept away by flooding

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PARAGON, Ind. (Apr. 5, 2014) — The people who live in the small town of Paragon are trying to cope with a tragic loss. Jana Payton, 24, and her son Bronson Liggett, 5, were found dead Saturday afternoon after being swept away by flooding. Now, those closest to them are remembering the mother and son.

Jana Payton worked at Tomato Pie, which is a popular pizza restaurant in the small town of only a few hundred people. It’s where we found her cousin, Mary Finney, who describes the mother/son pair.

“They were inseperable, it’s the best word to put it,” Finney said. “She was really good to him and he loved her.”

Now, all that Finney is left with, are memories.

“It’s gonna be harder as time goes by and it sinks in,” she said.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, working with others, came up on the bodies of Jana and Bronson after an exhaustive search that lasted hours. Searchers focused on the flooded White River near Moon Road in a remote part of Monroe County. The DNR thinks Jana and Bronson, as well as another friend, were trying to get back home last night. They got turned around and ended up in some rapidly rising water.

“Tne friend who left them there to go for help said, when she left they were on top of the car, and when she returned 15 to 20 minutes later they were gone,” said Angela Goldman with the Indiana DNR.

Hearing about this tragedy sheds some light on a reminder about the dangers of trying to navigate through flooded streets.

“We’ve had several water rescues just in the last several days of people that are trying to cross that water. So many of these vehicles, nowadays, are very light weight and it just doesn’t take much water, especially if it’s moving swiftly, to push that car right off the roadway,” said Goldman.

Meantime, as Mary Finney copes with the loss of Jana and Bronson, it’s Jana’s signature that will always live on.

“She (Jana) always told people she loved them, no matter what, anytime she left. so, I love you,” said Finney.

Payton leaves behind an older son who is staying with relatives.

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