Police confirm remains dug up are homicide victims - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Police confirm remains dug up are homicide victims

Posted: Updated:
Philmon Tapaha. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Philmon Tapaha. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Brandi Hoffner. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Brandi Hoffner. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Alan Champagne. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Alan Champagne. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Phoenix have confirmed the remains dug up in the backyard of a Phoenix home are two people missing since the summer of 2011.

Philmon Tapaha and his girlfriend, Brandi Hoffner, were last seen together in June 2011. DNA evidence taken from a crime scene where murder suspect Alan Champagne once lived matches that of Tapaha's family.

The mummified remains found by landscapers on Tuesday were in an advanced state of decomposition and were covered in lime, often used to reduce the odor of decomposition.

Champagne, who served a prison sentence for second-degree murder and was already in the Maricopa County Jail on other charges involving a 2012 standoff with police, on Wednesday was re-booked on two counts of first-degree murder in the case.

[RELATED: Phoenix ex-con re-booked after human remains found]

Philmon Tapaha is the brother of Phillena Tapaha, who has two children fathered by Champagne, according to court documents.

Phillena Tapaha told police that her brother had learned Champagne had been cheating on her with another woman and that he had become angry at Champagne before his disappearance.

Police received a tip in October 2011 that two people had been killed between June and July inside an apartment where Champagne had lived and that the bodies were taken from the apartment in a box by Champagne and two other people, according to the documents.

The house where the remains were found was once owned by Champagne's mother. It was at that house where Champagne shot at police during a standoff on March 3, 2012.

[RELATED: Phoenix man, woman in custody after long standoff]

Police were called Tuesday after landscapers doing work at the home discovered the wooden box buried in the backyard.

Alfred Townsend, a maintenance worker at an apartment complex where Champagne previously lived, told police that Champagne, also known as Miko, had asked him in 2011 to build a box big enough for car parts that could be moved from his mother's house that was about to go into foreclosure.

Townsend lived in an apartment next to Champagne and complained about an odor and fluids that had leaked into his apartment from Champagne's and told police he was forced to use a chemical to kill the smell and replace the drywall in Champagne's apartment.

He also complained that the odor was worse coming from a storage unit adjacent to Champagne's apartment.

A police investigation of Champagne's vacant apartment showed signs of blood in a bedroom, the documents show. The DNA evidence matches the Tapaha family, according to the documents.

Champagne was in court Thursday morning where he pleaded not guilty to the killings of Philmon Tapaha and Hoffner. Champagne will be back in court May 8, 2013 at 8:15 a.m.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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