A Florida town known for Disney magic and wholesome family values is grappling with the grim discovery of four slain relatives, allegedly killed by the father.
Anthony Todt, 44, has been charged with multiple counts of homicide for the deaths, Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson announced at a Wednesday press conference. Todt is also accused of killing the family dog and faces an animal cruelty charge as well.
Federal investigators and Osceola County deputies arrested Todt Monday at his family’s home in Celebration, a town originally developed by The Walt Disney Company and situated near Disney World, according to the Associated Press.
Investigators found four dead bodies at the home, though they have yet to be formally identified by a medical examiner. However, Gibson said he's certain they're the bodies of Todt’s family. A medical examiner determined all died by homicide.
Gibson said Todt has admitted to killing his wife Megan, 42, and their children Alek, 13, Tyler, 11 and Zoey, 4. The sheriff choked up and became visibly distraught during the news conference when announcing Zoey’s age. He added that Todt also admitted to killing the family dog, Breezy.
“Three children and a mother [have] lost their lives at the hands of a husband and a supposed father,” Gibson said. “This is despicable and cannot be tolerated anywhere in the United States of America.”
The murders are believed to have happened toward the end of December, Gibson stated. Deputies actually did a welfare check at the home on Dec. 29 after a concerned relative of Anthony Todt said she hadn’t heard from them in two days. That relative had been told the family had the flu, but was still evidently concerned, Gibson said. Deputies were dispatched to the home but they weren’t able to make contact with anyone. Because they didn’t find anything suspicious, they didn't follow up, Gibson said.
Before the tragic discovery, worried family members had created a Facebook group dedicated to finding their relatives.
On Jan. 9, federal investigators got involved, though their attempts to contact the family were unsuccessful until Monday, when they found the bodies.
At that point, Todt had taken took a dosage of Benadryl pills and made comments about harming himself, according to Gibson. He was taken to the hospital and released Wednesday morning. He is cooperating with investigators, according to Gibson.
Todt has been under investigation by by local authorities in Connecticut for an unrelated crime, Gibson said. Both Todt and his wife worked as physical therapists and had their own practice in Colchester. Connecticut's Office of the Attorney General has said the investigation has to do with alleged false claims made by Todt's therapy business, Perfomance Edge Sports, according to NBC Connecticut, though they offered no further details.
While no possible motive has been revealed, an eviction notice was recently filed in a Florida court for the home where the bodies were found, NBC Connecticut also reported.
Eerily, Todt’s father was convicted for attempted murder in the early 1980s after he hired someone to shoot his wife, according to court records. Robert Todt, a former special education teacher, paid an ex-student with learning disabilities to shoot his wife Loretta Todt, who survived the attack, but lost her left eye. Robert was having affairs with multiple women at the time of his wife’s shooting.
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