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Brutal stabbing of Payette preschool teacher Elizabeth Anne Baune by her own cousin spotlighted on ID

 Michael Culley
Michael Culley helped to murder his own cousin

This week Murder in the Heartland examines the murder of Elizabeth Anne Baune in her home, a brutal crime that shocked the small town she lived in.

November 7, 2007, near Payette, Idaho, and 45-year-old Elizabeth Anne Baune was found dead in her own home, she’d been stabbed in the head and chest 29 times.

Detective thought the most likely explanation was a burglary gone wrong, given the preschool teacher was popular and had no enemies that they could identify.

It turned out that it was Baune own good nature that led to her death. She had taken in her younger cousin, 26-year-old Michael Culley, as a house guest to help him get through his drug addition crisis.

However, he betrayed her, and along with 19-year-old Johnathon Hernandez, attempted to rob her home. During the crime the pair stabbed Baune 29 times, with Culley finishing her off with a large kitchen knife that he pushed into her head. Even then the teacher did not die right away and the forensics showed she managed to crawl some distance before succumbing to her injuries.

Both were found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to 45 years to life in prison.

Murder in the Heartland airs on Wednesdays at 10:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.


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