Norfolk Man Arrested in Connection to Yankton Disappearance and Death

A Norfolk man is behind bars in connection to the disappearance and death of Phyllis Hunhoff.

US Attorney for Nebraska Joe Kelly announced Wednesday that a criminal complaint is unsealed and charges 47-year-old Joseph James of Norfolk with arson.  The complaint alleges James set fire to Hunhoff’s car, which was found with her body in it on the Santee Sioux Reservation on November 7th.  Kelly says James was arrested on November 19th.

Hunhoff, a Yankton, SD resident, did not make it home after visiting her mother on November 4th.  Authorities issued a missing person alert the next day before finding her body on the 7th.

The case is still being investigated by multiple agencies, including the FBI, and further details are not available.

The maximum punishment for the arson charge is 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a five-year term of supervised release.  James was scheduled to make his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Susan M. Bazis on Wednesday afternoon.