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    Tuesday, May 28, 2024

    One year later: Questions remain in the Todt family murder case

    One year ago today, Megan, Alek, Tyler and Zoe Todt, and their dog Breezy were found dead inside a home the family rented in Celebration, Fla.

    Anthony “Tony” Todt, Megan’s husband and the children’s father, was taken into custody and charged with four counts of first-degree homicide and one count of animal cruelty. He’d been allegedly living in the home with the dead bodies of his family for weeks.

    Tony Todt is in jail awaiting trial, leaving family and community members no closer to understanding what happened inside the Todts’ Florida home in December 2019.

    The Osceola County Sheriff's Office has said that Tony confessed to the murders, though that confession has not been released publicly.

    The Day has been investigating the case for a year, and today the paper is launching a new weekly podcast called “Looking for the Todt Family” that digs into the crime and reckons with the ramifications it had on the communities and people involved. The podcast is available on Apple and Google Podcasts as well as other platforms.

    Case status

    The outgoing state attorney in Osceola County, Fla., Aramis Ayala, announced last week that her office would no longer seek the death penalty against Tony Todt, citing concerns for his mental health, according to court records. She filed a notice of intent not to seek the death penalty, after an independent review board had voted unanimously in February to seek the capital punishment. Ayala has a history of opposition to the death penalty.

    Incoming State Attorney Monique Worrell said her administration did not coordinate with Ayala on the decision and would be reevaluating Todt’s case. It isn’t yet clear whether her office will seek the death penalty against Todt.

    Thus far, the Osceola County State Attorney’s Office has released some information about the murders, including a 27-page letter from Tony Todt to his father, Robert Todt, and phone calls from jail between Tony and his sister, Chrissy Caplet. The sheriff’s office has told The Day that it won’t put out any more information about the case before a trial, as it may jeopardize a possible conviction.

    Todt last appeared in court in December. His case is set for a status hearing Feb. 5 at 8:30 a.m. A trial date could be set at that time. His case was first set for a pretrial hearing in March, which was waived. Several subsequent hearings have been rescheduled or delayed, presumably due to court closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The latest

    The letter from Todt to his father blamed Megan Todt for the murders — he said she gave the kids a Benadryl-laced pie before she stabbed her sons then stabbed herself. He claimed himself to be “10,000% innocent” of both the murders and of health care fraud that he was under investigation for at his physical therapy practices.

    A federal affidavit released in January alleges Tony committed health care fraud for years with flagrant disregard for regulations governing claims to Connecticut Medicaid and private insurance companies. Federal agents arrived at the Todts' home in Celebration on Jan. 13, 2020, to arrest him on a warrant stemming from the fraud investigation. That’s when they found the decomposing bodies of his family, wrapped in blankets, in a second-floor bedroom.

    In a March phone call from jail, Todt told Caplet that he couldn’t prevent his family from being murdered.

    “I couldn’t stop it because I wasn’t there,” he said.

    In two calls between Tony and Caplet in March and April, he suggested that Megan Todt had been responsible for her own death as well as the deaths of their three children and family dog. He suggested she may have tried to kill them before.

    The past

    The week before Christmas in 2019, Todt told Megan’s aunt, Cindi Kopko, not to worry if she didn’t hear from the family for a bit — the couple and their children were going on a trip to St. Augustine and wouldn’t be reachable. Later, Todt said they had arrived in Northern Florida and Megan had lost her phone.

    “He lied,” Kopko said. She doesn’t know if those final texts about going on vacation came from Megan. It’s possible, Kopko noted, “They were already dead by then.”

    Tony Todt has a violent family past, and his relationship with his father is complex; the two were estranged for decades. When Tony Todt was 4 years old, he was a witness to his mother’s attempted murder in Bensalem, Pa., in 1980, for which his father was convicted and served years in prison.

    Robert Todt is still making amends with his son years later. In “Looking for the Todt Family” podcast, he discusses the estrangement from his children, his reconnection to Tony following Tony Todt's arrest and his feelings of guilt about how that night in 1980 — a night Robert Todt claims he was with his mistress — may have affected his son.

    The Todt family murders shook both the Colchester community, where Tony Todt was a well-respected physical therapist and beloved youth soccer coach, and the Celebration community, where Megan homeschooled her children and was known as a friendly neighbor and devoted mother.



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