1 body found at Southside home, JSO searching for possibility of more bodies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Detectives are searching for more bodies, using shovels, buckets and sifters in a backyard of a home on the Southside.

Action News Jax cameras were there Thursday as investigators removed a body from the home of Russell Tillis.

Tillis is in jail right now on unrelated charges. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is searching the property on Bowden Circle East for the possibility of more bodies.

On Friday afternoon, an assistant state attorney and a medical examiner's office vehicle were at the scene. Investigators are looking at a specific area in the ground behind the home.

Several shovels and blue buckets were huddled over an area of the back yard. There were also obvious signs of the deteriorated conditions of the home.

JSO said it's looking for more bodies.

“It's certainly part of what we are considering. There could be a potential there or other locations,” said JSO Chief of Investigations Tom Hackney.

Neighbors were aware of what's happening, and none of them were surprised that the focus of the investigation is a home that many described as evil.

Tillis, 54, is described as the devil by his neighbors.

“People were scared of him. He'd throw things at people is what I heard. Pure mean, evil person should've been locked up a long time ago,” said neighbor Brenda Smith.

A police report from May of last year details an incident when officers arrived to serve two active warrants.

It said Tillis ran away from them, allegedly leading them through an area where he had recently placed boards with 4-inch nails facing upward.

“You have to question his motives. Why was he setting these booby traps?” asked Action News Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.

There are still many questions neighbors want answered.

“Are there a bunch of bodies? Is there a serial killer or something? It's scary. Thank goodness, he's not here no more,” Smith said.

There were a lot of children visible in the neighborhood, and a nearby home is a day care. One neighbor said that if Tillis ever gets out of jail, he will come to the neighborhood and kill all of them.