Remains Found At Serial Killer’s Home Identified 42 Years Later

[Shutterstock Daniel Tadevosyan]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Authorities have identified the remains of a missing teen more than 40 years after her body was discovered at the home of a Florida serial killer.

Theresa Caroline Fillingim, then 17, went missing in 1980. Authorities found four decomposing bodies a year after her disappearance at the home of Billy Mansfield Jr. Two of the victims were identified, but the identities of the other two remained unknown until earlier in July, when authorities identified Fillingim’s body.

Authorities partnered with the University of North Texas and Paragon Nano Labs to identify the body, according to a statement from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Billy Mansfield Jr was sentenced to life in prison in 1982 for the murder of five women, according to WFLA.

Mansfield’s spree ended when he raped and strangled René Saling in 1980. Saling’s body was dumped in a campground where Mansfield was staying with his brother Gary, WFLA reported. As authorities investigated Saling’s murder, officials discovered the additional four bodies at Mansfield’s home. Authorities said the women were sexually assaulted by Gary, Billy and their father, William, who was a convicted child molester, the outlet continued.

Fillingim’s sister, Margaret Johns, reported her missing on May 16, 1980. Fillingim’s then-unidentified body was discovered on April 3, 1981, according to the police statement. Now, Johns says she can get closure.

“It gives me peace because I know I didn’t lose her,” Johns said, according to WFLA. “That she was taken.” (RELATED: Police Charge Man For Allegedly Killing Wife On Honeymoon After Her Body Is Found In Hotel Room)

“The sad part of it is my whole family never knew what happened to her,” Johns continued, according to the outlet. “My dad died without knowing, my mom died without knowing…my sister died without knowing. I have a niece that knows and I have a cousin I keep in touch with that knows what’s going on and then, besides my brother, that’s it. It’s just the four of us.”