Human remains found in backyard of Phoenix home

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by Natalie Brand

Bio | Email | Follow: @NatalieBrand

azfamily.com

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 8 at 12:20 PM

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PHOENIX --  Police are investigating human remains discovered in the backyard of a Phoenix home Tuesday afternoon.

The home is located on 14th place, near 16th Street and Indian School Road.  

Video from the 3TV news helicopter showed investigators digging up the backyard on Tuesday evening.  Around 11pm, a tow truck was brought in to remove what appeared to be a large wooden box from the backyard, as part of the investigation.

Police were called to the scene by landscaping workers who discovered the remains while doing some yard work, according to a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Dept.

"They've been working on this home," said neighbor Ken Reid.  "Someone was digging up the backyard for irrigation and ran into coffins apparently."

Neighbors said the home has been vacant for months but undergoing renovations by the new owners. They say the same home was the scene of an intense  police standoff on March 2, 2012.

Records show the home was formerly owned by the Champagne family. Alan Champagne was arrested following last year's standoff, after police say he barricaded himself inside the house with his girlfriend and son.  Police say he even fired at a SWAT team through the door.

Court records show Champagne still faces a list of charges in connection with that standoff. He has a trial date set for next month.

Records from the Arizona Department of Corrections also show he served prison time for second degree murder.

Neighbors say ever since the standoff, the neighborhood had been pretty quiet until Tuesday.

"It doesn't shock me," said Ken Reid of the remains found in his neighbor's backyard.

"It's just scary; you never know," said Nikki Dulku.

Police haven't released specifics on the remains, whether one body was found or more.  The remains have not yet been identified, and it's not known how long they may have been in the backyard.

Check back with azfamily.com for updates on this developing story.

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