Human remains found underneath Amite home identified as woman missing for over a year

Joanna Phelps, 39, has been arrested since police made the chilling discovery
Published: Jun. 25, 2022 at 4:19 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:19 AM CDT
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AMITE, La. (WAFB) - An Amite woman is behind bars after the remains of a woman reported missing for over a year were found underneath an unoccupied home Friday (June 24).

Authorities arrested Joanna Phelps, 39, and booked her into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail for principle to first-degree murder and failure to report the commission of certain felonies.

It’s unclear what led up to police obtaining a search warrant, but they say the grim discovery was made at a home in the 300 block of South Third Street.

Police say that when they entered the unoccupied home, they found that the floor had recently been replaced, which is what prompted officers to remove the boards where they found the remains.

The Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office identified the remains as Angela Stearns. Stearns had been missing for over a year. She was 59.

Angela Stearns was missing for over a year before her remains were found beneath an unoccupied...
Angela Stearns was missing for over a year before her remains were found beneath an unoccupied home in Amite, Louisiana, police say.(Crimestoppers)

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Angela,” Amite Police Chief Lendrick Francois said.

Police didn’t explain the connection to Phelps but noted that she was arrested shortly after the search.

The investigation is ongoing.

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