Central Illinois woman charged in deaths of boyfriend, baby

State News

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TUSCOLA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois woman has been charged with murder and other counts in connection with the March deaths of her infant daughter and her boyfriend in a fire, authorities said.

Illinois State Police arrested Stefanie L. Sanders, 26, of Tuscola on Monday on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, and one count each of aggravated arson and residential arson. She was arrested on a warrant issued by the Edgar County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Edgar County Coroner Scott Barrett ruled Monday that the manner of death for both Michael Phipps, 35, and 2-month-old Nettie Phipps was homicide.

They died March 1 in an early-morning fire at their home in the eastern Illinois community of Vermilion. Crews were called to the scene around 1:40 a.m. Firefighters found the home fully engulfed in flames where they arrived.

Michael Phipps was the child’s father.

It was unclear whether Sanders has an attorney who might comment on her behalf.

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