Remains Of Teen Girl Missing Since 1980 Found In Serial Killer’s Home

Theresa Caroline Fillingim, 17, went missing on May 16, 1980 in Tampa. Four decades later, advances in technology identified her body as a victim of serial killer Billy Mansfield, Jr.

In July 2022, Theresa Caroline Fillingim, pictured here smiling, was identified as a victim of serial killer Billy Mansfield, Jr. in 1980.

Theresa Caroline Fillingim, 17, went missing on May 16, 1980 in Tampa. Four decades later, advances in technology identified her body as a victim of serial killer Billy Mansfield, Jr.

Photo by: Hernando County Sheriff's Office

Hernando County Sheriff's Office

Back in 1980, a 17-year-old girl named Theresa Caroline Fillingim went missing from the Tampa, Florida area without a trace. After over four decades, her family finally got answers.

Margaret Johns, Fillingim’s older sister who she was living with at the time of her disappearance, filed a missing persons report after the teen girl never returned home on May 16, 1980.

In 1981, nearly a year after Fillingim went missing, Billy Mansfield, Jr. was caught and sent to prison for raping and strangling René Saling, a young mother of three, and dumping her dead body in a ditch near a campground where he and his brother were staying. While police were investigating that murder, they found four additional sets of human remains at Mansfield’s home. At the time, only two of the victims were identified; Elaine Ziegler, a 15-year-old girl from Ohio, and Sandra Jean Graham, a Tampa woman who went missing on April 17, 1980.

In July 2022, DNA confirmed that Fillingim was one of the other two people found buried at Mansfield’s home. Johns told WFLA this brings her some closure after waiting 42 years to find out what happened to her sister.

Johns told Fox 4 that her message to the serial killer would state, “How dare you cut her life short? How dare you? Who do you think you are doing that?” She also said, “The women are haunting him well. I hope they do.”

WFLA reported that knowing what happened to her sister did bring Margaret Johns some peace, but she regrets that her father, mother, and other sister passed away without ever knowing what happened to Theresa.

Ultimately, Johns hopes that this news can help encourage other people with missing family members to not give up hope. She said, “You never know what’s going to happen in your life that’s going to turn up something that you’ve been looking for forever.”

Next Up

6 Things To Know About Aileen Wuornos

Wuornos, a former sex worker, claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her, and her serial killings were committed in self-defense.

Over Four Decades Later, Serial Killer Confesses To Murdering Teen On Spring Break In 1980

In March 1980, teen Carol Ann Barrett was kidnapped from the Daytona Beach motel room she shared with her friends on Spring Break. After over 40 years, the murder was solved when serial killer Billy Mansfield, Jr. confessed to her murder.

Wendy Stephens, 14, Identified As ‘Green River Killer’ Gary Ridgway’s Youngest Known Victim

“How can anybody wrap their head around their daughter being killed by a serial killer?” the girl’s mother asks.

Nearly 50 Years After Her Death, A Murdered Teen Is Linked To A Serial Killer Cop

A Florida family finally has closure after authorities identified a body recovered in 1974 as 15-year-old Susan Poole.

Key Players in the Jeffrey Dahmer Case: Where Are They Now?

From 1978 to 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer raped, killed, and dismembered 17 boys and men.

Prolific Serial Killer Nurse Charles Cullen May Have Killed As Many As 400 Patients

The murderer’s 16-year medical career in New Jersey and Pennsylvania ended after he was arrested in 2003.

West Mesa Murders: Serial Killer Who Slayed, Buried 11 Victims Remains Unidentified

“We need new information on this case, that is what is going to lead to it getting solved,” the city’s mayor says of whoever killed the girls and women.

How Elusive Serial Killer Ted Kaczynski Was Unmasked As The Unabomber

The self-professed anarchist was captured in 1996 hiding out in a primitive Montana cabin.

Suspected Texas Serial Killer Taunted Police, May Have Committed Multiple Unsolved Murders, Cops Say

Before his May 2023 arrest, police say Raul Meza Jr. “was ready and prepared to kill again, and he was looking forward to it.”

Texas Father On Run For Over 12 Years Found Guilty Of Killing His Two Teen Daughters

“You are a murderer and the devil,” victims Amina and Sarah Said’s mother told her ex-husband, Yaser Said, in court after his conviction.