911 tapes detail landscapers' discovery of two bodies in Phoenix yard

PHOENIX - New details are emerging in a disturbing murder mystery after police release crime scene photos and 911 calls.

Last March, landscapers found two bodies hidden in a backyard while they were working at a home near 16th Street and Indian School Road.

They found a wooden box buried in the yard, which police say may have held two corpses for nearly two years.

On 911 tapes, a contractor describes the discovery.

"We were working in the yard, and a worker discovered something. The general contractor talked to him this morning and we think it might be a person that's been deceased," he said.

Landscapers found a large wooden box with the mummified bodies of 32-year-old Philmon Tapaha and his 26-year-old girlfriend Brandi Nicole Hoffner inside.

Police say it all started in an apartment near 12th Street and Osborn Road where police believe the couple was murdered.

In 2011, an anonymous tip came into police of a double homicide there.

At the same time, a maintenance worker alerted detectives of a strange odor coming from the apartment and ripped up drywall and tile in the bedroom.

Police searched for blood and collected DNA samples, focusing on a storage locker. In 2012, evidence led them to believe Tapaha and Hoffner may have been the victims.

Then in March of 2013, police received a call from the landscapers who discovered their bodies.

Police believe 42-year-old Alan Champagne, who used to live in the house, shot and killed the couple and buried them.

And they say he did it with the help of his girlfriend, 22-year-old Elise Garcia.

Champagne was already in jail at the time of his arrest on unrelated charges from a standoff with police.

Records show he was convicted of 2nd degree murder in 1992 for stabbing a man to death.

There's actually a connection between these two couples. The suspect is actually the father of Philmon Tapaha's nephews.

Champagne and Garcia are expected to go on trial in 2015.

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