Florida man confesses to killing wife, 3 kids and dog at home near Disney World
A man confessed to killing his wife and three kids after authorities found the four bodies in a home just outside Walt Disney World in Celebration, Florida.
Anthony Todt, 44, has been arrested on multiple counts of homicide and one count of felony animal cruelty after he told authorities he murdered his family and their family dog, Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said Wednesday. Deputies arrived Monday to arrest Todt for an unrelated federal investigation when they found the bodies during a safety check.
"Based on the initial investigation to include the suspect’s statements, the deaths have been determined to have occurred sometime toward the end of December," Gibson told reporters Wednesday.
Autopsies are being conducted to confirm the identities, but authorities believe based on Todt's confession that the bodies are that of his wife Megan and the couple’s three kids, Gibson said.
The children's ages ranged from 4 to 13.
County deputies conducted a wellness check on the home on Dec. 29 after an out-of-state family member contacted authorities with concerns that the family was sick with the flu and hadn't been in contact for days. Gibson said that deputies were unable to make contact with the family but did not observe anything suspicious.
"This family is known to travel so it wasn’t uncommon to think or even have a thought in your mind that they picked up and went to Clearwater or Cocoa Beach for the day or for a week," Gibson said.
It is possible the family was already dead in the home by the time deputies conducted their check, the sheriff said.
Federal authorities contacted the sheriff's office on Jan. 9 to ask for help in serving an arrest warrant for Todt. Gibson did not know what the cause for the federal warrant was, but said it pertained to an investigation in Connecticut.
A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Attorney General's Office confirmed to NBC News Wednesday that the office had an open False Claims Act investigation into Todt but could not comment further.
Todt and his wife owned Family Physical Therapy in Colchester, Connecticut, according to NBC affiliate WESH.
Court records show an eviction complaint was filed against the couple on Dec. 22 for failure to pay rent on their Celebration home.
Celebration is a residential community, about 20 miles south of downtown Orlando, that was created by the Walt Disney Company in the 1990s.
Todt was being detained Wednesday, according to Gibson, but it is unclear whether he has a lawyer.