Victims of serial killer Billy Mansfield Jr. identified after 41 years

Forty-one years after the remains of a 16-year-old girl were discovered on a Florida property, police have used DNA technology to identify the victim.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office announced July 20 that they had identified the remains of Theresa Caroline Fillingim, who disappeared on May 16, 1980 while on vacation. Fillingim’s sister had reported her missing to the Tampa Police Department.

Fillingim’s remains were recovered on April 3, 1981 from serial killer Billy Mansfield Jr.’s property. Deputies uncovered Fillingim’s body alongside the remains of the bodies of three other women on Mansfield’s property.

Mansfield is currently serving a life sentence in California.

For years, Fillingim’s body went unidentified alongside that of another woman, in part because of difficulties investigators had in determining her identity. In 2020, there was a break in the case when a University of North Texas lab developed a full study from a sample of the remains submitted by the sheriff’s office. However, when entered into a national database, no match was found with the body.

That all changed earlier this year, however, when the sheriff’s office sent another sample to Virginia-based DNA technology company Parabon Labs. Using Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping technology, which creates a description of a victim based on characteristics such as skin color, eye color and ancestry as opposed to a genetic match, investigators were able to create a victim profile.

With the new profile in hand, Fillingim’s remains have finally been positively identified, along with a DNA sample from her sister.

In December 1980, Mansfield was arrested along with his brother after the half-naked body of 29-year-old Rene Saling was found in a side drainage ditch in Watsonville, California.

He was indicted and tried by a Hernando County grand jury in 1982. After two weeks, Mansfield accepted a plea bargain and a 25-year life sentence, admitting to killing Fillingim and the three other women discovered on his property.

This is the second time in the last few weeks that Parabon Detectives’ technology has helped solve a cold case. Last week, Pennsylvania detectives arrested 68-year-old David Sinpoli for the 1975 murder of 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler. After Parabon identified him as a person of interest in their case, police were able to link Sinpoli through DNA testing. Victims of serial killer Billy Mansfield Jr. identified after 41 years

Fry Electronics Team

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