Florida landlord allegedly 'killed a family of four and burned their bodies on fire pit'

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By James Kay

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A Florida landlord allegedly murdered a family of four before burning their bodies in a fire pit, according to police reports.

Rory Atwood, 25, allegedly confessed to killing the family - identified as five and six-year-old children and their parents - after a disagreement with the parents, who were his friends since high school, per People.

"If there wasn’t evil in this world, we wouldn’t have to pray as much. And when I talk about this story today, you’re going to hear about evil," Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters.

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 12.49.16.jpgThe Zilliot family were discovered in a fire pit. Credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Initially, Atwood denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the Zilliot family, which included Rain Mancini, 26; Phillip Zilliot II, 25; and their children Karma and Phillip III, ages 6 and 5, respectively, according to Nocco.

The family, who had been staying at Atwood’s home in Hudson, was reported missing on Thursday by Mancini’s mother after she lost contact with her daughter.

Atwood, a father himself, allowed investigators to search his property that same day. Detectives noted nothing unusual, except for a backyard fire pit that was "actively smoldering and smoking," the criminal complaint states.

The following day, a friend of Atwood informed police that the landlord had confessed to "killing his roommates and their children" the night before, the document revealed.


Investigators returned with cadaver dogs, which reportedly uncovered "small skeletal remains," soft tissue, and two human vertebrae from the fire pit. Additionally, the back patio reeked of a strong chlorine odor.

Atwood, who initially claimed he had evicted the family due to unpaid rent, eventually confessed to the killings, according to authorities.

In his account, Zilliot II and Mancini allegedly entered the home on Wednesday night, both armed with knives. Zilliot II tried to stab Atwood but switched to physical combat after being disarmed, Atwood claimed, per the New York Post.

The landlord said he snapped when he saw Mancini using a knife to "poke" his own 4-year-old daughter in the throat. A struggle is said to have ensued over the knives and a firearm Zilliot II had brought, with Atwood allegedly gaining control and shooting both parents, according to court documents.

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 12.49.05.jpgRory Atwood. Credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Atwood did not specify the whereabouts of the children during the struggle but suggested that the parents might have killed them. He later admitted that the bodies of Karma and Phillip were in the fire pit but did not confess to killing them.

Atwood reportedly claimed he used "adrenaline" to drag the bodies of Zilliot II and Mancini to the fire pit, where he burned them in flames he said they had started.

Investigators are working to confirm the identities of the remains found at the scene, but have charged Atwood based on his testimony.

Atwood pleaded not guilty on Monday and is being held without bond.

Featured image credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Florida landlord allegedly 'killed a family of four and burned their bodies on fire pit'

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A Florida landlord allegedly murdered a family of four before burning their bodies in a fire pit, according to police reports.

Rory Atwood, 25, allegedly confessed to killing the family - identified as five and six-year-old children and their parents - after a disagreement with the parents, who were his friends since high school, per People.

"If there wasn’t evil in this world, we wouldn’t have to pray as much. And when I talk about this story today, you’re going to hear about evil," Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters.

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 12.49.16.jpgThe Zilliot family were discovered in a fire pit. Credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Initially, Atwood denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the Zilliot family, which included Rain Mancini, 26; Phillip Zilliot II, 25; and their children Karma and Phillip III, ages 6 and 5, respectively, according to Nocco.

The family, who had been staying at Atwood’s home in Hudson, was reported missing on Thursday by Mancini’s mother after she lost contact with her daughter.

Atwood, a father himself, allowed investigators to search his property that same day. Detectives noted nothing unusual, except for a backyard fire pit that was "actively smoldering and smoking," the criminal complaint states.

The following day, a friend of Atwood informed police that the landlord had confessed to "killing his roommates and their children" the night before, the document revealed.


Investigators returned with cadaver dogs, which reportedly uncovered "small skeletal remains," soft tissue, and two human vertebrae from the fire pit. Additionally, the back patio reeked of a strong chlorine odor.

Atwood, who initially claimed he had evicted the family due to unpaid rent, eventually confessed to the killings, according to authorities.

In his account, Zilliot II and Mancini allegedly entered the home on Wednesday night, both armed with knives. Zilliot II tried to stab Atwood but switched to physical combat after being disarmed, Atwood claimed, per the New York Post.

The landlord said he snapped when he saw Mancini using a knife to "poke" his own 4-year-old daughter in the throat. A struggle is said to have ensued over the knives and a firearm Zilliot II had brought, with Atwood allegedly gaining control and shooting both parents, according to court documents.

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 12.49.05.jpgRory Atwood. Credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office

Atwood did not specify the whereabouts of the children during the struggle but suggested that the parents might have killed them. He later admitted that the bodies of Karma and Phillip were in the fire pit but did not confess to killing them.

Atwood reportedly claimed he used "adrenaline" to drag the bodies of Zilliot II and Mancini to the fire pit, where he burned them in flames he said they had started.

Investigators are working to confirm the identities of the remains found at the scene, but have charged Atwood based on his testimony.

Atwood pleaded not guilty on Monday and is being held without bond.

Featured image credit: Pasco County Sheriff's Office