William Mansfiel Jr.


William Mansfiel Jr.

thanks tom

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 5 +
Date of murders: 1976 - 1980
Date of birth: 1956
Victims profile: Elaine Zeigler, 15 / Two "Jane Doe" / Sandra Graham, 21 / Rene Sailing, 30
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Florida/California, USA
Status: Sentenced to concurrent life terms in California and Florida

The oldest son of a Florida child molester, Mansfield was born in 1956. In line with family tradition, he boasted a police record that included a one-year sentence for sex crimes in Michigan.

Paroled in March 1980, he returned to the family home - a six-acre junk yard at Weeki Wachee Acres, near Tampa - and managed to last for three months before clashing again with the law.

A June 19 incident saw him charged with battery and false imprisonment of a young woman, and Mansfield departed for California in early September. Arrested in Santa Cruz on November 23, he was released on $1,500 bond.

Two weeks later, when officers tried to correct the mistake, it was already too late for one of his victims. Rene Sailing, age 30, was last seen alive when she left a California tavern with Mansfield, on December 6, 1980. Next morning, her bullet-punctured body was recovered from a drainage ditch, and warrants were issued for Mansfield's arrest. He was captured days later, with 23-year-old brother Gary Mansfield, in Winnemucca, Nevada. William was held on charges of first-degree murder, his brother accused as an accessory after the fact.

On March 16, 1981, Hernando County deputies descended on the Mansfield home at Weeki Wachee Acres, bearing warrants for a search of the premises. Tipsters had informed them that a missing woman, 21-year-old Sandra Graham, of Tampa, might be buried on the property, and officers came prepared for full-scale excavation.

The first female skeleton, unearthed on March 17, was identified only as a white woman in her twenties. Number two, discovered a week later, was that of 15-year-old Elaine Zeigler, a tourist from Ohio who disappeared from a nearby campground on July 1, 1976. Another "Jane Doe" surfaced on April 3, but authorities got lucky with the next skeleton, four days later, finally identifying the remains of Sandra Graham.

Two of the junkyard victims remain unidentified today, but Mansfield is also a suspect in other Florida homicides. Melinda Harder, 21, was a neighbor of Mansfield's, in St. Petersburg, when she disappeared on July 27, 1980. Another Ohio native, Carrol Barret, was abducted from her Daytona Beach motel room in 1980, shot to death and dumped beside a highway near Jacksonville. Mansfield fit the description of her killer, but eyewitnesses could make no positive I.D.

Ironically, police maintain that William Mansfield, Sr. - serving 30 years on a plea bargain to charges of child molestation - is not implicated in the series of murders. Neither, apparently, is Mansfield's mother, who claims total ignorance of the corpses planted within 40 feet of her home. No further skeletons were found at Weeki Wachee, and the excavations were abandoned by police in mid-April 1980.


MO: Son of convicted molester; rape-slayer of females age 15-30.

DISPOSITION: Concurrent life terms in Calif. and Fla.