The father of a missing Connecticut family has confessed to murdering his wife, three young children and dog after four bodies were discovered Monday inside a Florida home in a storybook community built on the outskirts of Disney World, authorities said Wednesday.
Anthony Todt, 44, was charged with four counts of homicide in the deaths of his 42-year-old wife Megan and their three children: Alek, 13; Tyler, 11; and Zoe, 4, Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson told reporters at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. He also faces one count of animal cruelty for killing the family dog, Breezy.
The victims died “sometime toward the end of December,” according to evidence and Todt’s statements, the sheriff said. He would not give their causes of death until the investigation is completed.
"We grieve along with the victims' family and friends," Gibson said. "I cannot understand what would cause a person to commit such evil and horrendous acts."
Federal agents were trying to serve Todt with a federal warrant for his arrest on Monday in connection to the Connecticut case when they found him, and the bodies, inside the Celebration, Fla. home, Gibson said.
As he was detained, Todt was rushed to a hospital after telling deputies he had ingested pills and talked about hurting himself, the sheriff said. He was released Wednesday morning and arrested.
Todt is expected to be transferred to Osceola County jail later Wednesday. His motive remains unclear.
Gibson said the department conducted a welfare check on the home Dec. 29 but received no answer at the door and found nothing suspicious. A concerned family member had contacted the department because she was told the family had the flu and she had not heard from them in two days.
He said deputies could do nothing more at the time because there was nothing suspicious that warranted deputies to enter the home.
Authorities had remained tight-lipped about the investigation since the tragic discovery Monday, withholding the identities of the suspect and the victims. However, the family earlier had been linked to the home.
The family had lived in Colchester, Conn., before moving to Florida, where they rented the Celebration home on May 1, 2019, for one year.
Court records show the couple was in the process of being evicted from the home after they allegedly failed to pay their monthly rent of $4,921 in December, the Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant reported.
The family appeared to be facing mounting money troubles.
Todt, a physical therapist, had his license to practice in Connecticut expire due to non-renewal in September, the papers reported. Todt commuted from Florida to his office in Westchester, Conn., where he also was facing eviction.
Reporters said a notice to quit possession posted on the office door claimed the physical therapy group had not paid rent for December or January, and owed nearly $6,300.
The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office further confirmed to local media on Tuesday that Todt and his business were currently being investigated under the False Claims Act, which probes fraudulent claims submitted to the government.
Days before the bodies were found, the Todt family was the subject of an online search apparently launched by relatives who said they had not heard from them.
A Facebook page titled “Looking for the Todt’s” was created Saturday, but taken down shortly after the discovery.
A day after the bodies were discovered in the home just four miles from Walt Disney World and originally developed by Disney, neighbors told WESH-TV that they “haven’t seen the family in weeks."
“They used to park right in front of us so we'd see them every day coming and going, and were with the kids,” neighbor Michelle Augustin said. “The last time I saw them was around Thanksgiving time."
However, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida along with the Connecticut State Police told local media that neither agency had received missing persons reports regarding the Todt family.
The Connecticut State Police called the deaths “heartbreaking” in a written statement obtained by FOX61, asking the public to “exercise patience” while the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office carries out the “complex” investigation.
“We live in Celebration,” neighbor Marcelo Rodriguez told WFTV. “It’s where dreams come true basically, right? And this has happened. So it’s really sad.”