SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) – A grisly discovery was made in Hernando County on Tuesday, one that could change the course of a decades-old serial killer case.
Human remains were found in the yard of a Spring Hill house — the home belonging to the family of a convicted Florida serial killer.
Neighbors tell 8 On Your Side that multiple investigators began showing up at dawn, bringing bulldozers with them to facilitate the sobering task of digging for bodies.
Turns out, the home where the remains were found is no stranger to law enforcement. Graphic discoveries have been unearthed there before, bringing with it the chilling story of what neighbors call a house of horrors.
According to court documents and dozens of detectives over the years, what happened in the Spring Hill home was the stuff of nightmares with details so horrific and so evil, longtime residents admit just talking about the home on Centerwood Avenue makes them uneasy.
This isn’t just any Hernando County home.
This property has a dark and twisted history, including murders, rape and heavy drug use from occupants inside, including a twice-convicted child molester, according to neighbors.
The location is the family home of convicted Florida serial killer, Billy Mansfield, where he carried out savage behavior, where torture was frequently carried out as he brought home women he kidnapped.
The unspeakable horror was pure evil, prosecutors say, as Billy Mansfield fulfilled a sick and twisted fantasy with his father and brother, presenting them with young women who were bound and gagged, but still alive.
According to court papers, the terrified victims endured the most horrific circumstances as they were passed around between the father and his two sons.
The family members sexually assaulted and tortured the victims, as they suffered in the last moments of their lives before Billy did the unthinkable, over and over again.
He murdered the women, often dismembering them in the house.
Then, to satisfy his growing, murderous obsession, Billy would bury the bodies nearby, admitting years later in court, he wanted them close. He liked them there.
The discovery Tuesday of human remains was so disturbing and so chilling, forensic teams spent hours at the home from sun-up to sundown.
Dozens of investigators from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the medical examiner’s office and forensic experts from USF had their hands full on day one.
Now, the investigation continues as the property will once again be scoured on Wednesday, searching for bodies.
It is, indeed, one of Hernando County’s darkest and deadliest secrets, a piece of history that still shocks lifelong residents like Christian Green. “It’s scary to think stuff like that happens,” Christian said.
The human remains now have Hernando detectives asking questions and frantically searching for answers.
What exactly took place on the secluded property? What happened behind closed doors in the family home of this convicted killer, now serving four life sentences in a California prison?
Are there more bodies of victims buried deep in the land surrounding the home? And, if so, who are they? Were they reported missing years ago when the crimes were carried out in the late 1970s?
Those questions remain as the search continues, revealing more and more about the cruel and unusual tendencies of Billy Mansfield
The Hernando killer murdered four Florida women and a California woman he met during a trip with his brother.
The grisly crimes of this killer are chronicled on websites like Serial Dispatches, documenting the details of the murders, subsequent arrests and multiple life sentences. Prosecutors were originally pursing the death penalty in Florida, and that’s what made Billy Mansfield confess, plead guilty and head to prison until he dies.
The family compound, surrounded in suspicion and morbid mystery still has the locals in Spring Hill visibly nervous as they talk about Tuesday’s discovery.
“That family is dangerous. They will kill you, like they killed others. I can’t say anything about them at all. I might get killed. They’re crazy,” said a man who did not want to give his name.
After Billy carried out his vicious crime spree, killing multiple women between 1975 and 1980, the case is one again drawing attention more than 40 years later.
And, the Mansfield family sits squarely in the middle of it.
The father and the brother both remain in the house, both with lengthy criminal histories. In fact, Billy’s brother, Gary, was arrested on drug charges in the early-morning hours Tuesday.
That’s when the case broke wide open, sources say, with Gary sharing the secrets of the past with deputies. Witnesses say as he was being escorted from the home by deputies, he began yelling loudly, demanding immunity on the impending drug charges. Gary tipped off detectives with a clue that’s now launching a whole new invesgation.
There’s bodies all over the property, he yelled.
Sadly, he was correct.
Human remains were found just hours later.