In March 1981, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Department obtained a search warrant to dig up the Mansfield family propter in Spring Hill. They had received information provided by an informant who claimed that there was a body underneath the property. Authorities searched and dug through the area until the first clue was found, that is, a skull and bones in a shallow grave covered with a blanket.
They were sent for examination and it was concluded that they belonged to a female under 20-years-old. It is believed that the bones belonged to Zeigler. Based on suspicion that there were possibly more bodies, they continued with the excavations with aid from metal-detecting experts.
The body was tentatively identified as that of the missing Zeigler based on the skeleton’s characteristics, skull and missing tooth.
Jewelry was also found, but the Chalker’s didn’t recognize it belonged to Elaine. They continued to dig up the home over the following weeks. Initially, the investigators only found bones from chickens and cows. On March 24, a small sack of human bones was found underneath the fireplace. Investigators continued digging through the ground, the water pipes, through electrical wiring, until three more skeletons were found, all belonging to young women.
The bodies were determined to be that of:
- Jane Doe – found buried in the family workshop under a concrete slab. Described as a young white teenage girl with possible African-American heritage. She was initially thought to be less than 13 years old.
- Theresa Fillingim – Described as a white female, aged 22–30. It was first suspected that the body belonged to 21-year-old Melinda Harder who went missing on July 27, 1980 in Peterburg, however, this was ruled out years later in 2008 when Harder’s remains were identified. It was not until this year, July 2022, that Fillingim’s body was finally identified using genetic genealogy.
- Sandra Jean Graham – Graham was last seen at the parking lot of Pam’s Liquor Lounge on April 27, 1980, accompanied by a man described as a “biker”. She had left her cigarettes, car keys and eyeglasses at the bar. Her decomposed body was recovered from a wooded homestead, and positively identified through a forensic dentist.
Following the arrest of his brother, Gary Mansfield, for drug charges on October 27, 2020, more remains have been located at the family home in Spring Hill, FL.