A dad murdered his wife and three children before leaving their corpses to rot in their Disney town home because he thought the world was ending, a court heard.
In opening statements Monday, prosecutors argued that the December 2019 crime was carried out after Anthony Todt, 46, and his wife made a murder-suicide pact to ‘pass over’ to the other side together at their home in Celebration, Florida, before what they believed was an impending apocalypse.
‘Everybody needed to die in order to pass over to the other side together because the apocalypse was coming,’ Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell told jurors in Osceola County Court.
Todt has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of animal cruelty in the killings of Megan Todt, 42, and their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4. The family’s dog Breezy was also killed.
The victims were drugged with Benadryl, suffocated, stabbed and left to rot for two weeks inside their Celebration, Florida home, a town near Disney World.
Anthony Todt (pictured here at his first hearing in 2020), now stands trial for the murders of his wife and three children, two years after their decomposed bodies were found in Florida home
Todt pleaded not guilty to the murders of Megan Todt, 42, and their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4. The family’s dog Breezy was also killed
Assistant State Attorney Danielle Pinnell (pictured) told jurors in opening statements Monday that Todt made a pact with his wife to ‘pass over’ together before the apocalypse
Federal authorities and Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies found the victims’ decomposing bodies on January 13, 2020, when they went to the home to arrest Todt on insurance fraud charges related to his physical therapy business.
Authorities were first alerted to the family’s disappearance just after Christmas 2019 when family members requested a wellness check at the Florida home. Todt, a physical therapist, worked in Connecticut and spent weekends in Florida with his family.
A 911 call heard in court Monday that one of Todt’s sisters stating that Todt believed the world was ending in late December 2019, so deputies should check on the family.
When deputies went to the Celebration house to arrest Todt on insurance fraud charges related to his business, they discovered the horrific scene.
‘The bodies were discolored, black and blue,’ Special Agent Michael Phelps testified in court on Monday.
The victims, who were found wrapped in blankets, were killed by ‘unspecified violence’ combined with overdoses of Benadryl, the Orange-Osceola County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded. All had sustained stab wounds except for the 4-year-old.
Emily Seda, a forensics supervisor at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, testified on Monday that a cherry-flavored liquid Benadryl bottle was found in a trash can. The bottle had Todt’s fingerprints on it, she said. Boxes and and bottles of Benadryl were also found in the house prosecutors said.
Special Agent Phelps told the court Monday that Todt was mumbling as authorities searched the house, and told police he consumed the Benadryl in an attempt to die by suicide.
During the seach, ‘Anthony could barely stand and appeared to be shaking,’ according to an arrest affidavit.
Todt drugged his wife and children with Benadryl (pictured) before stabbing them to death several times and leaving them to rot in their Celebration home for two weeks
The bed where police found the decomposing bodies of Megan Todt and her daughter, Zoe
The victims were drugged with Benadryl, suffocated, stabbed and left to rot for two weeks inside their Celebration, Florida home, a town near Disney World
In three police interviews following the murders, Todt confessed to killing his family, which prosecutors reviewed in court on Monday.
Pinnell told jurors how Todt described to investigators that he killed Zoe first while she was sleeping, stating that he ‘rolled over on top of her until she suffocated.’
Pinnell said that Todt then told investigators that he killed his two sons by suffocating them and stabbing them.
‘He was afraid that if something didn’t go the way that he wanted Tyler Todt would escape,’ Pinnell told jurors.
Pinnell went on to say that Todt told investigators that his wife then stabbed herself twice—and when that didn’t work, he suffocated her with a pillow. Lastly, Todt allegedly claimed he suffocated the family dog.
Six months after confessing to the murders, Todt claimed his wife was responsible for for the grisly crime, telling his father in a jail letter that she is the one who drugged their children with a ‘tainted Benadryl pudding pie.’
Todt’s defense team deferred their opening statements on Monday. The trial continues.