- Oxford Eagle, Sunday, September 28, 1997
- Escaped Rapist Anthony Phelps
- in Louisiana Motel Room
Injuries from sheriff's van crash
- Chase McFadden STAFF WRITER
- Yoknapatawhpa County Sheriff's Department
spokesperson, Elizabeth Jones, reported that Anthony
Phelps, 21, who escaped from a crashed Sheriff's
Department van last week, died Friday in a room at the
Heritage Inn in Amite, Louisianna, from injuries
sustained during the van accident.
- Police arrested Phelps Sept. 20 and were ready to
indict him as the Proud Larry's Attacker, the man
responsible for several rapes connected with the
downtown Oxford bar, when Phelps escaped along with
suspected murderer Edward Pierce on Sept. 20.
- The Heritage Inn, located at the intersection of
state highway 16 and federal highway 51 south of the
Louisiana-Mississippi border, is reportedly an area
favorite for low-budget travelers.
- Phelps was found by the motel manager, who went to
his room at 11:00 a.m. to inquire why the room hadn't
been vacated by the check-out time of 10:30 a.m.,
Jones said. The manager reportedly stated that he
unlocked the door and found Phelps stretched sideways
across the bed, his skin already cold to the touch.
The television was tuned to a college football game
and an-almost empty bottle of bourbon was found on the
night-stand along with a glass and an ice bucket full
of water, Jones added. Jones refused to release the
name of the motel manager.
- Louisiana's Tangipahoa County Sheriff's Department
is leading the investigation and stated that a woman
whose description matches Victoria Symons, Pierce's
girlfriend, paid for the room with cash late in the
evening of Sept. 21, and requested no disturbances
from housekeeping and no phone service. The motel
manager reportedly stated that the woman carried
several bags of groceries into the office with her
when she checked in, and brought them with her to the
- The manager reportedly told investigators that the
woman arrived on foot, but later said he did not
remember the details of the incident. The parking
space designated for Phelps' room remained unoccupied
throughout the week, according to Jones.
- Two men who allegedly resembled Phelps and Pierce
were sighted stealing a brown 1986 Buick LeSabre from
the Oxford Mall parking lot at around 5:30 p.m. Sept.
20, just hours after the sheriff's van crash which
left Deputy Kennon Schiff dead and Deputy Morgan
Phillips in a coma.
- Sheriff Charles Lamar's daughter disappeared from
the Oxford Mall between 5:00 and 6:00, Sept. 20. But
Jones refused to speculate on whether Macy Lamar, 17,
had been abducted by Pierce and Phelps, saying only
that "the appearance of the motel room apparently did
not suggest Phelps shared it with anyone."
- Officials say Phelps stole three sets of clothes
hanging in the back yard of Mr. and Mrs. Charles
Weatherby, of Fluker, La. Weatherby had filed a
complaint on Wednesday, Sept. 24, after calling into a
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department tip line.
Upon the recovery of the clothing yesterday Weatherby
was able to identify the garments as belonging to
himself and his son Bill, according to Jones.
- Tangipahoa County Coroner, William Cutshall,
stated that Phelps had two prolonged injuries to his
body at the time of death, according to Jones.
- The first was a head laceration that caused
internal bleeding and swelling due to the formation of
a small blood clot, but is thought not to have been
fatal, Jones said.
- Secondly, Jones said, Phelps had a ruptured aorta,
which had begun healing over the course of the week
after the accident, but which ultimately weakened and
tore a second time. The subsequent internal bleeding
led to Phelps' death, Jones said.
- Although the motel manager states that Phelps
stayed to himself and rarely ventured outside or
called the front desk, other Amite residents state
that they saw him on and off throughout the week,
according to Jones.
- Jones said Carl Walsh, the manager of the local
McDonald's, stated that Phelps was a regular customer
throughout the week, and that he remembered Phelps
coming in with a bandage around his head several
mornings for coffee and a biscuit.
- "He moved like he was in some real pain. . .moved
real slow, and I asked him about it one day, and he
said he was in a bad car accident, so I didn't think
any more about it. I asked him why he wasn't at home
resting up and he said 'because I have work to do.' He
was always dressed nice, and seemed friendly-I never
thought he was one of those escapees," Walsh said in a
prepared statement released by Jones.
- Cutshall said that immediate medical attention
could have saved Phelps, but he was probably not aware
of the more serious internal damage and probably
decided that the head injury was not worth the risk of
re-arrest, according to Jones.