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Florida Man Accused of Killing Missing Couple and 2 Children Admits He Burned Bodies in Fire Pit: Police

A Florida man charged with murder has admitted to killing and burning the bodies of a missing family of four, including two young children, police said. According to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, police had been searching for Rain Mancini, 26; Phillip Zilliot II, 25; 6-year-old Karma Zilliot; and 5-year-old Phillip Zilliot III since Thursday following a welfare call. A woman said Atwood contacted her brother via video call, asking for help to burn some trash at a 10-acre property off Nottingham Trail in Hudson.

According to the affidavit, her brother saw a pool of blood and the bodies of adults and children during the call. When police arrived at the property the first time, they didn’t notice anything unusual. During a follow-up visit, they found what is likely the family’s remains on the property.

“We believe it may be this family, but at the same time, I can’t give a definitive until…the [medical examiner] gives us final confirmation that it is,” Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said Saturday, according to News Channel 8.

Court documents released Monday indicated that the family lived with Rory Atwood, 25, as CrimeOnline previously reported. He has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Now, an arrest affidavit, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, provides additional information on what may have transpired before the victims’ deaths.

Rory Atwood/Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

Initially, Atwood gave conflicting information to investigators, suggesting that if they found bones on his property, they were from a horse. He also allegedly asked how long it takes human flesh to decompose.

Atwood said he evicted the family on June 1 for not paying rent. He said they returned on Wednesday night to collect their belongings and ended up staying for a few hours.

During their subsequent search, deputies found the victims’ possessions at the property. Atwood claimed the family left those particular items because they “did not have time to take them.”

Witnesses from Wednesday night stated Mancini and Zilliot were drinking with Atwood at the home. Their children were there, along with Mancini’s friend and Atwood’s 4-year-old daughter.

The 4-year-old told detectives she saw Rain Mancini get into an argument at her father’s home.

At around 6 a.m. the following day, Atwood dropped the girl off at her mother’s home. The mother told detectives Atwood seemed unusually agitated.

On Saturday, Atwood allegedly said that Phillip Zilliot II and Mancini walked into his bedroom with knives on the night in question. Atwood said he disarmed Zilliot and threw the knife out of the room, while Zilliot punched him in the head. He said he also saw Mancini threatening his daughter with a knife.

During the struggle, Zilliot purportedly grabbed a handgun from the room. Atwood claimed he wrestled for the gun and fired two shots into Zilliot’s head. He said Mancini was also shot several times in the torso and head.

Although Atwood didn’t specify how the two children died, he insinuated that Zilliot and Mancini were responsible.

Atwood then dragged the bodies from the living room to a fire pit, which he said was already lit, then hid the firearm and burned his bloodstained couch.

Investigators, however, noted that Atwood had no signs of injuries consistent with a fight.

“The defendant burned the two victims and evidence within the fire pit and repeatedly lied to patrol deputies and detectives,” the affidavit stated, adding that he also “admitted to knowing both juveniles…also burned in the same fire pit.”

Atwood pleaded not guilty in his initial court appearance on Monday. He remains behind bars without bond at Land O’ Lakes Jail.

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information on the case to call them at 727-847-8102, option 7, or submit tips online at PascoSheriff.com/tips.

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