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Todt in phone call to relative: 'I don't remember anything'

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In a phone call from jail in February, Tony Todt, the Colchester physical therapist accused of killing his family in Florida and living with their bodies for weeks, told a relative that he doesn’t remember anything between Christmas and his first week in jail, and that he was asleep “on the night that everything happened.”

“I don’t remember anything, after the events that happened,” Todt said to the relative, whom he called “Cheesepuff,” on a call from the Osceola County jail. It wasn’t clear whom Todt was speaking to, but the phone number involved in the call is associated with Tony’s sister, Chrissy Caplet. 

“I have no idea where I was, where I am, and the only thing I remember is being at the hospital,” Todt said. “Other than that, I have no idea about anything.” 

Todt was taken into custody on Jan. 13 after his wife, Megan, the couple’s three kids, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4, and the family dog, Breezy, were found dead and decomposing in a second-floor bedroom in a home the family rented in Celebration, Fla., an idyllic community near Disney World developed by the Walt Disney Corp. and built to hark back to mid-20th-century America.

A recording of Todt’s phone call, along with crime scene photos and interviews with federal agents who were investigating Todt in connection with insurance fraud, were released Tuesday by the Orange-Osceola County State’s Attorney’s Office.

On the call, Todt tells the relative that “on the night that everything happened,” he went to the family’s condo, a unit in a bright pink complex on Longview Avenue, a few streets down from the home they rented. Todt said he was there to look for Zoe’s Mickey Mouse necklace.

“That was the one last thing we needed,” Todt said of the necklace. He told his relative they needed the necklace “for reasons you’ll find out later.”

Todt said he went to the condo to find the necklace, which Megan had told him was in a jewelry box on the back of the door in the master bedroom. He said he couldn’t find the key to the condo, so he used a crowbar to get in and left the door open because he figured family members “were going to come down after and take care of it.” 

In the recording of the conversation, Todt sounds like he's crying after saying he couldn’t find the necklace. 

“I fell asleep, I was supposed to wake up at 11 or 11:30, but I didn’t wake up until the next morning,” he said. 

“I was asleep, so I didn’t wake up until the next morning, so because of that it changes everything,” he said later. 

Listen: Tony Todt's phone call from jail to relative

Shortly after talking about the necklace, Todt mentions his wife. The two were high school sweethearts who were approaching their 20th wedding anniversary in January. 

“Just know that I protected Megan’s dignity until the very end,” he said. At the start of the call he told his relative, “I absolutely loved, honored and obeyed Megan through everything.”

Megan, 42, of Montville was a stay-at-home mom who previously had worked at the couple’s physical therapy practice. She was a yoga instructor and home-schooled her children. 

Her friends from childhood describe her as a “ray of sunshine” and a dedicated mother who fiercely protected and loved her children.

In the call, Todt says he remembers that at the time of his arrest he was wearing a cross around his neck with his mother’s ring. Megan was wearing her husband’s wedding ring when she died, he said.

Todt mentions on the call that a social worker brought in a news article to him about his father, Robert Todt. The Day reported in February that the elder Todt was convicted in the 1980s of hiring someone to shoot his wife, Tony Todt’s mother. The elder Todt to this day maintains his innocence. 

Robert Todt said in an interview with The Day that he and his children have had a strained relationship. He said he’s written his son multiple letters and has not received a response.

Crime scene photos released

Tony Todt had continued to work in Connecticut and flew to Florida on weekends. He allegedly flew to Florida before Thanksgiving and did not return to Connecticut. Patients at his physical therapy practice said that their appointments in December were canceled and they were left in the dark about when they would be rescheduled. Both offices have remained closed since the holidays. He told the relative on the call that he had left his car with a valet service at Bradley International Airport.

Todt and the relative also spoke about Todt’s belongings, including a blue container full of baseball cards that was in his car. 

It is still unclear when exactly the family was killed, but Osceola County Chief Medical Examiner Joshua Stefany said the family likely had been dead for weeks when they were found on Jan. 13. 

Neighbors in Celebration said they hadn’t seen the family since early December, when they were seen walking their dog in the park across from their home, and were later seen packing a full car for what some neighbors thought was a trip to the beach. The family attended a music recital for Alek and Tyler in Kissimmee on Dec. 14. 

Crime scene photos released Tuesday show blankets strewn across a bed. A mattress on the floor is soaked in blood. There were black zip ties, blood-smeared first aid sprays, a handgun and a red restraint, similar to a dog leash, tied to the bed frame. A teddy bear can be seen near the foot of the bed, where Zoe’s body was found. 

Additional crime scene photos show containers of Benadryl and two hunting knives, one stained in blood. 

Photos also showed some of the clothes the boys were wearing when they died, as well as rosary beads that one of the boys was allegedly holding. 

Autopsy reports released April 7 showed that Megan, Alek, Tyler and Zoe had traces of diphenhydramine, likely Benadryl, in their system, and the mother and boys had been stabbed. The results show that the Todts died from "homicidal violence of unspecified means in association with diphenhydramine toxicity." Breezy had been stabbed multiple times, according to the medical examiner. 

Photos released Tuesday of Todt show cuts and a Band-Aid on his hands and a small wound on his chest at the time of his arrest. 

Fraud investigation

Osceola County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Cole Miller and Ryan Quinn conducted interviews with three special agents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General the day the family’s bodies were found. The agents came to the Todts’ home on Jan. 13 with a federal arrest warrant alleging Tony Todt committed health care fraud at his physical therapy practices for years with flagrant disregard for regulations governing claims to Connecticut Medicaid and private insurance companies.

Public records show the Todts and their businesses, Family Physical Therapy and Performance Edge Sports LLC, owed almost $100,000 in unpaid loans, and the family recently had been evicted from a condominium they were renting in Celebration.

The agents were aware the family had not been seen for weeks. According to interviews released Tuesday, Special Agent Jim Nguyen spotted Tony Todt about 8:30 a.m. on the porch of his rental home. Nguyen thought Todt had seen him, so he went to the back of the home and Special Agent Michael Phelps replaced Nguyen. Phelps eventually saw Todt go into the home. The agents called the sheriff’s office for backup before entering to arrest Todt. 

Phelps said when they found Todt, he was standing at the top of the stairs wearing a shirt and underwear, and he was shaking, mumbling and incoherent. Todt said “someone’s upstairs” when asked where his wife and children were, according to Phelps. Todt also apparently said his daughter might be on a sleepover. 

Special Agent Melissa O'Neal's account was similar to Phelps'. She said when agents first asked Todt where Megan and the kids were, he said Megan was upstairs asleep, and he "called for her like she was alive." He also said he couldn't remember if the children had gone to a sleepover the previous night.

When the agents and sheriff’s deputies initially searched the home, they couldn’t find Zoe in the same room as her mother and brothers. She was found once law enforcement went through the room again. O'Neal said she repeatedly asked Todt where Zoe was, and he was confused: "He said, 'Oh, isn't she in her bed sleeping?'" She was found at the foot of the bed, lying across it and under blankets.

“When I went in the room really quick, I saw the two boys laying on the floor, heads away from the door, and (they) were dark black,” Phelps said. 

O'Neal agreed: "The two boys are as black as this leather," she said, referring to an item not explained in the interview.

The autopsy reports revealed that the two knives Miller brought to the medical examiner's office were labeled "BUCK USA" and had tips with double-edged blades. One knife had a green and black handle, the other had a black and gray handle and had dried blood on it, the reports said.

When Todt was taken into custody, he allegedly told investigators that he had taken Benadryl in a suicide attempt. He was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. While Todt was at the hospital, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office reported in January that he confessed to killing his family. The confession has remained redacted from the records. 

Todt said he doesn’t know what he told investigators but remembers bits and pieces of being in the hospital. 

Todt’s immediate family, including sisters, mother and stepfather, and Megan’s aunt and uncle live in Connecticut. His father lives in Massachusetts.

In February, Megan’s aunt, Cindy Kopko, said that she and Caplet planned to travel to Celebration to go through the home, specifically to retrieve Megan’s father’s ashes. On the call, the relative said she was headed down to Florida that Monday. 

Megan and her children were cremated and their remains were returned to Connecticut. The family held a funeral in Montville in January. 

On the phone call, the family member tells Todt that she loves him and is worried about him. Todt asks about his mother, Loretta Schmidt, and says that he’s received a letter from her and from an uncle named Martin. 

Todt said he is being held in isolation and that this was the first phone call he was allowed to make. A guard at the jail said he has had no visitors. 

Todt is facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty. His trial is set to begin this summer. If he is convicted, the state of Florida will seek the death penalty against him.

t.hartz@theday.com

s.spinella@theday.com

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