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Man accused of torching mobile home, killing girlfriend

GAUTIER (AP) — A Mississippi man has been charged in the slaying of his missing girlfriend whose decomposing remains were found behind a church.

News outlets report 56-year-old James Vanlaningham of Gautier was arrested Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge in 37-year-old Amanda Hicks’ death.

Parishioners of Pine Grove Methodist Church in Jackson County discovered the remains during a gathering on March 18. The state medical examiner’s office used dental records to identify Hicks. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Vanlaningham was first arrested Feb. 8 in Alabama on a DUI charge and later charged with arson after being accused of burning the couple’s mobile home in Vancleave.

Hicks was last seen that day leaving the home with Vanlaningham in her truck.

It’s unclear if he has an attorney.