Police: Colchester business owner confesses to killing wife, 3 kids, family dog
A Colchester business owner has confessed to killing his wife, their three children and the family dog in Celebration, Fla., according to police.
The Osceola County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday announced charges of four counts of premeditated murder and one count of cruelty to animals against Anthony Todt, who owns Family Physical Therapy and Performance Edge Sports LLC in Colchester and previously lived on Waterhole Road with his family.
Todt told police he killed his wife, Megan, and their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11 and Zoe, 4. He also confessed to killing their dog, Breezy.
[naviga:iframe frameborder="0" height="240" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CG6-hDDV_bo" width="100%"] [/naviga:iframe]
In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said police believe the family has been dead since the end of December. While discussing the children, Gibson became choked up and had to pause.
Public records show that the Todts and their businesses owed almost $100,000 in unpaid loans, were under investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General's Office for filing false claims and faced eviction from their Florida home.
On Monday, Osceola County Sheriff's deputies responded to the home rented by the Todts at 202 Reserve Place to assist federal agents in serving Anthony Todt with a warrant related to an FBI and Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General investigation into health care fraud in Connecticut.
The HHS-OIG investigation affidavit was unsealed Wednesday night. It was prepared by Jeffrey Anderson, a special agent with the U.S. HHS-OIG. In it, he alleges Anthony Todt committed health care fraud.
"Our agencies are investigating allegations that Todt and Family Physical Therapy are engaged in a health care fraud scheme involving the submission of fraudulent claims for physical therapy sessions to the Connecticut Medicaid Program and to private health insurance plans ... for physical therapy services that were not in fact rendered to patients," the affidavit reads.
The FBI and the HHS-OIG began an investigation into Todt and Family Physical Therapy around April 2019. The investigation "learned that Todt and Family Physical Therapy are engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid, Anthem, Cigna, and other health care benefit programs by billing those plans for physical therapy services that were not provided," the affidavit reads.
A review of People's United Bank records of Performance Edge Sports LLC, doing business as Family Physical Therapy, "for the time frame January 2015 to June of 2018" indicated that Todt and the business took out loans or cash advances from more than 20 different commercial lenders, the affidavit said. He had stopped paying staff members of the business, who then stopped showing up for work, it said.
In connection with that investigation, "Deputies made contact with Anthony in the home, along with federal agents, and he was immediately detained," Gibson said. "A safety check was conducted where deputies discovered four deceased individuals inside."
The Florida medical examiner ruled all four deaths homicides. Gibson said Todt had not told him how he killed his family, and the causes of death will be determined over the course of the investigation.
Gibson said a family member contacted police for a welfare check thinking family members may have had the flu. Police said they went to the home on Dec. 29. No one answered the door and the blinds were closed, but deputies checked around the home and with neighbors.
"Nothing suspicious was noted," Gibson said.
Todt and his family were reported missing by family members on Jan. 6. They had been living in Celebration, a small community near Disney World where the family rented a home and owned a condo.
On Jan. 9, the sheriff's office was contacted by federal agents about an investigation into Anthony Todt. At that point, Osceola County police "made several attempts to make contact with Anthony and the family over this past weekend, with negative results," Gibson said.
Authorities returned to the home Monday to serve a warrant for the investigation in Connecticut. Osceola County police were there for backup.
"Deputies did a cursory check of the home, found the four decedents inside, they immediately backed off, went outside the home, secured the scene, and went and obtained a search warrant to make it a legal search and to make this case as strong as it could possibly be," Gibson said.
After being taken into custody, Todt was brought to a hospital for a potential attempted suicide Monday and was released Wednesday morning, Gibson said.
"He may have ingested some dosage of Benadryl," Gibson said, "and he also made comments of potentially harming himself."
Todt is a well-known physical therapist in Colchester, with practices at 7 Park Ave. and 744 Middletown Road. Megan Todt also was listed as a physical therapist at the practice.
Sometime in the last two years, Megan Todt and her children began residing in Celebration full time, according to Gibson and family friend Linda Akerman. Anthony Todt still was working full time in Colchester and was traveling to Florida to be with his family nearly every weekend, she said.
The family was last heard from on Jan. 6, according to posts by family members in a Facebook group called "Looking for the Todt Family."
On Wednesday, Anthony Todt's sister, Chrissy Caplet, issued the following statement on behalf of the family: "Tony and Megan were devoted loving parents who loved their children and Breezy every day and were so involved in their community. The families of Tony and Megan ask for privacy during this difficult time in our lives as we mourn the loss of our families."
Bobbie Sedwick, a private music teacher in Celebration who says she taught Alek and Tyler piano, violin and guitar at the Todt family home twice a week, said she last saw the family at a Dec. 14 holiday recital in Kissimmee.
"All seemed normal," she said.
Sedwick said the family "had it all together" and that Megan Todt was a stay-at-home mom who homeschooled her children and cooked all her meals from scratch.
According to Akerman, Tony Todt was an accomplished, well-liked physical therapist who coached youth soccer in town. She said that when she first heard the Todts might be missing, she assumed they went on a family vacation. "Knowing Tony, I just thought they had all gone off on a cruise," she said.
Gibson said law enforcement officials also thought the family may be on vacation.
"This family was known to travel," Gibson said. "It's not uncommon for these folks to pick up and go someplace."
Gibson did not know Anthony Todt's motive. He repeatedly expressed outrage about the tragedy.
"Three children and a mother have lost their lives at the hands of a husband and supposed father," Gibson said. "This is despicable, and cannot be tolerated anywhere in the United States of America, let alone Osceola County, Florida."
Todt is awaiting his first court date while being held in Osceola County jail.