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DNA technology helps HCSO identify 1981 murder victims

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DNA technology helped identify the remains of a young woman found in 1981, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) said Wednesday.
In March and April of 1981, four sets of human remains were recovered from Mansfield’s property in Spring Hill. Of them, two victims were immediately identified. Two other victims, including Teresa Caroline Philingim, who was 17 at the time, said investigators at the University of North Texas and Virginia-based Parabon Nanolabs used DNA technology to confirm Philingim’s remains. It remained unidentified until identified.
Parabon is a private DNA technology company that specializes in DNA phenotyping, the process of predicting appearance and ancestry from unverified DNA evidence.

Phillingim was reported missing to the Tampa Police Department on May 16, 1980 by his sister Margaret Johns. After they were found, the HCSO collected the bodies and sent them to several laboratories, unsuccessfully trying to develop a DNA profile for them. In 2020, a sample of the remains was sent to North He was sent to the University of Texas, where a full DNA profile was created and then entered into a national database.

A search of that database yielded no DNA matches, but a full DNA profile review indicated investigators had enough genetic material in the unidentified victim’s sample to warrant further testing. I decided there was. Researchers used her DNA to independently predict a victim’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin tone, freckles and face shape using Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service. Did. Law enforcement agencies use snapshots to narrow down lists of suspects/victims (characteristics) and generate leads for criminal investigations, says Michael Terry, HCSO’s deputy public relations officer (PIO). ) said Mr. Parabon’s research then developed the profile used to identify Fillingim.

According to Terry, several investigations and law enforcement agencies in Florida and elsewhere have contributed to efforts to identify Teresa Phillingim.
The agency will continue to use evolving technology and investigative techniques whenever appropriate to help solve violent crimes, he said.
The Mansfield property is located in Spring Hill near US-19 and Forest Oaks Boulevard. William “Billy” Mansfield Jr. pleaded guilty to the murder of four women found on the property. The body was found in March 1981 when the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office received information that a body was hidden under the house. In 1975 she was issued a warrant to search the body of her teenage girl, Elaine Zeigler, who had gone missing from the Hernando KOA campsite. Three bodies have been identified with Sandra Jean Graham, Elaine Ziegler, and Teresa Phillingim leaving unidentified remains.

Billy was in prison in California at the time. Billy and his brother Gary were on trial for the murder of Rene Saling. Her body was found in a drainage ditch in Watsonville, California. The jury stalled at the first trial.In the second trial, Billy’s brother Gary testified against him and he was convicted. Billy is currently serving four life sentences.