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Rory Atwood – Florida Man Charged With ‘John Doe’ Murder as Remains – Possibly Missing Family – Found on His Property

Authorities in Florida have arrested a 25-year-old man for the murder of a “John Doe” after human remains were found Friday on his property. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said investigators believe the remains may belong to a family of four were disappeared earlier in the week, but noted that the missing persons case would remain just that until the remains are identified.

Rory Atwood was charged with murder after the remains were found and “because of statements he made,” Nocco said.

The sheriff said the investigation is a complex one, largely because people who had information about the case did not call law enforcement but instead “called a friend who called a friend who called another friend.”

In fact, Nocco said, investigators first learned about the case at the end of one of those strings of what seemed like “a game of telephone.” Atwood, he said, had called a friend, “frantic” and “really upset,” at about 2 a.m. Thursday, saying that he’d shot someone. But that information didn’t get to the sheriff’s office for another 12 hours.

Working backward from that information, the sheriff said, investigators learned about the missing family: Phillip Zilliot II, 25, Rain Mancini, 26, and their two children, Phillip Zilliot III, 5, and Karma Zilliot, 6.

Rain Mancini was last seen at her mother’s home late Wednesday night when a friend picked her up and took her to Atwood’s home, where the friend, Mancini, Zilliot, and Atwood drank alcohol. The two Zilliot children and Atwood’s daughter, another juvenile, were also present. Zilliot spoke with his mother by phone at about midnight, Nocco said, and that was the last time he was heard from.

“Per Rain’s friend, Rain, Phillip and Rory were all drinking alcohol and they started arguing,” Nocco said. “Before leaving, Rain’s friend hears someone say, ‘The last time this happened, you pulled a gun on us,’ referring to Rory. We do not have any police reports about that.”

Atwood made the call about shooting someone at about 2 a.m., Nocco said. An hour later, he called his daughter’s mother and said he needed to drop her off. The drop off didn’t take place until about 5:45 a.m., however.

When police finally heard about the 2 a.m. phone call Thursday afternoon, they went to Atwood’s home and asked to walk around the property. He gave them permission, but they didn’t find anything.

Rory Atwood/Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

On Friday, they made contact with the families of Mancini and Zilliot, who said they hadn’t heard from them. Investigators went back to Atwood’s property at about 4:30 p.m., and he again gave them permission to search, this time with cadaver dogs and aircraft, and this time, the searchers found the human remains.

“We were able to find human remains at the crime scene,” Nocco said. “We believe it may be this family.”

The sheriff stressed that until the medical examiner identifies the remains, the missing persons case remains open. He said that investigators do not know how many bodies have been recovered and that the medical examiner will make that determination as well.

“I go back to those two poor little children,” Nocco said. “It’s heartbreaking. We believe that they may be on the property deceased, but we do not know that definitively, and we will do everything we can to track them down. We pray to God they’re alive somewhere.”

Pasco County Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Rosa said that investigators “believe that our suspect Rory Atwood may have spoken to more people about this,” and encouraged anyone with information to call the sheriff’s office.