Vigil for slain members of the Todt family to be held in Colchester
Colchester — As residents of Colchester struggle to understand the murders of the Todt family in Florida last week, employees of Family Physical Therapy are planning to hold a candlelight vigil on the town green Friday night for the much-loved family.
The vigil will honor the lives of 42-year-old Megan Todt and her children, 13-year-old Alek, 11-year-old Tyler and 4-year-old Zoe. Local and federal authorities discovered their bodies inside their home in Celebration, Florida, while arresting Megan Todt’s husband, Anthony Todt, on insurance fraud charges. He was later charge with murdering his wife and children, as well as the family dog Breezy.
Todt was being held in jail without bail. Though the family had moved to Florida a few years ago, Anthony Todt commuted to Colchester weekly to run two Family Physical Therapy offices in town. Office employees are hosting the vigil for the slain family.
Florida authorities said Anthony Todt confessed to killing his family sometime in late December. While police officials have not released a motive, federal authorities were investigating Anthony Todt for health-care fraud schemes related to his physical therapy practices. The Orlando Sentinel and a Florida television station are asking a judge to unseal court records in the case against Anthony Todt, because the arrest warrant affidavit for the murders has not been made public.
According to investigators, Anthony Todt also admitted in November to fraudulently charging tens of thousands of dollars in fake physical therapy appointments to address his family’s deepening financial troubles. Court records show that the family was being evicted from their Florida home and from one of their Colchester physical therapy offices. Anthony Todt’s physical therapy license had expired in September and he had unexpectedly closed his physical therapy practices around Thanksgiving.
News of the deaths of Megan Todt and her children spread from Florida to Connecticut, linking two small towns over a thousand miles away from each other with tragedy.
On Monday, more than 100 people attended a candlelight vigil for Megan Todt and the three children in Celebration. A group of pastors led prayers for the extended Todt family, the community and the law enforcement officials who responded to the scene. The crowd lit candles in silence while a bagpipe played “Amazing Grace." Some wiped away their tears.
Neighbor Ryan Green, who spoke briefly to the crowd, remembered Alek and Tyler as enthusiastic soccer players, always dirty, playing in the mud. Alek didn’t mind stepping up to play goalie. He was a selfless, “go with the flow” team player, Green said.
“They were like our own kids,” Green said. “They were good people. I don’t know why it happened.”
In the days after the killings, the grassroots organization Colchester is Kind put up a sign that said “Things can get tough but please don’t lose heart. The world is brighter with you in it. We’re in need of your spark.” Colchester residents honored the family by placing bouquets of flowers on the physical therapy office’s door and paying for strangers’ coffees at the local Dunkin Donuts.
A family friend of the Todts said Tuesday that funeral arrangements for Megan, Alek, Tyler and Zoe are still being made. In the meantime, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the cost of flying the family back to Connecticut for burial. The fundraiser has raised nearly $16,000 so far and will only be used for funeral costs, organizers said.
“Nobody has answers right now,” the family friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “The family who is alive are the victims, too, and they need space to mourn. They lost their sister-in-law, their nephews and their niece. They’re figuring out the puzzle pieces.”
Friday's vigil will begin at 6 p.m. on the Colchester Town Green. Participants are asked to bring a candle or use a flashlight during the ceremony.
Editor's Note: This version has been updated to reflect that the vigil has been moved to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24.
Stories that may interest you
Smith earned a Bronze Star serving in Vietnam, taught law classes at the Coast Guard Academy, and served as legal counsel at Electric Boat.
The Norwich City Council held heated debates Monday before voting on two controversial fire services issues.
Families kick off summer picking strawberries at Scott's Yankee Farmer in East Lyme on Tuesday.