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Todt claims innocence in letter from jail, says wife killed children and stabbed herself

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In a letter sent from jail last month, Anthony Todt, the Colchester physical therapist accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, claims his wife gave their children drug-laced pie before she stabbed and suffocated them — and then stabbed herself — and says he is "10,000% innocent."

Todt, who was found inside his family's home in Celebration, Fla., with the decomposing bodies of his family on Jan. 13, confessed to killing his wife Megan, 42; their children, Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoe, 4, and the family dog, Breezy, shortly after his arrest, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

Their bodies were found wrapped in blankets in a second-floor bedroom in their large family home in a quiet neighborhood, days after family members in Connecticut called police requesting welfare checks on Megan and their children, whom they said they hadn't heard from in weeks.

The Todt family lived in Colchester before moving to Celebration in 2017. Todt, who goes by Tony, maintained his physical therapy practices in Connecticut after the move, commuting to Celebration regularly to see his family.

Todt was found in the home with his family when the FBI arrived to arrest him on a warrant stemming from a federal health care fraud investigation in Connecticut.

In the letter, dated June 19, 2020, and addressed to Todt's estranged father, Robert Todt, the younger Todt claimed he is "10,000% innocent of all these preposterous charges," both of the murders and of health care fraud.

The letter was released by Aramis Ayala, state attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. 

Todt said that on the day of the deaths of his three children, he was not at home and that after killing the kids, Megan committed suicide in front of him. He told his father that he went to the family's condo, a unit in a bright pink building a few blocks away from their rented home in Celebration, stopped back at the house to grab his tools and played basketball with his sons. He then went back to the condo to make repairs and look for daughter Zoe's Mickey Mouse necklace.

In a call from jail in February, Todt mentioned the same necklace to a relative he referred to as "Cheesepuff."

"That was the one last thing we needed," Todt said. He told his relative they needed the necklace "for reasons you'll find out later." He then said he fell asleep, "so I didn't wake up until the next morning, so because of that, it changes everything," he said in the call.

In the letter, Todt said he took a nap in his minivan outside the condo.

When he awoke in the early morning hours, he rushed home, finding the remnants of a "fruit pudding pie in a graham cracker crust."

"It looked good, as all my wife's pies do, but it smelled horrible," he wrote. "(Turns out it was a Benadryl pudding pie)."

The autopsy report from the District 9 Medical Examiner in Osceola County found that each child had traces of diphenhydramine, likely Benadryl, in their system, and the mother and boys had been stabbed. Crime scene photos released by officials showed empty bottles of store-brand Benadryl.

Todt alleged he met Megan at the top of the stairs upon coming inside. She told him she'd killed the children, he said.

"Long story short, she gave them the Benadryl/Tylenol PM pie, separated them, woke up at 11:30, stabbed and then suffocated each one," Todt wrote. "At the news of this I ran to the bathroom and puked."

Megan then tried to pray and meditate with him, Todt said. He said he had a difficult time believing the kids didn't struggle, as Megan told him. He went to the bedroom with a warm washcloth, wiped their faces, cried, and made an effort to make the children "look more comfortable."

Megan told her husband to stay calm, he said. She asked if he was OK.

"'No. ... You murdered our children,'" Todt said he responded. She replied that she had "released their souls," he claimed.

Megan tried to explain the logic of what she had done, Todt said. She gave him an empty, family-sized Benadryl bottle to throw away, and he "took the opportunity" to look for the family's phones, when he heard a "horrific sound." He found Megan had stabbed herself, the letter continues.

He said Megan asked him to stay by her, to not leave her "alone to die, as I didn't leave the kids to die alone."

"Before I could react, the knife was pulled out and thrown on the bed someplace," Todt wrote. "There was blood ... a lot of blood ... I begged her to let me call in (and) I would take all responsibility as I felt it was all my fault." He then wrote that Megan asked him to leave her for a few moments because he was stressing her out by trying to convince her to go get help.

He said he couldn't alert the neighbors, because that would necessitate leaving Megan alone but, even if he did seek help from the neighbors, they were never home due to work or "snow-birding." When he returned to her, she was "pounding" a family-sized Benadryl. He pleaded again with her to find help, and she said, "I have to be with my babies," Todt wrote.

Todt said that Megan asked him repeatedly to help kill her. At one point, he said he unsuccessfully attempted CPR against her wishes.

In the phone call from jail, which was released in May, Todt told his relative that he didn'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," he said to the relative, whose phone number was associated with his sister, Chrissy Caplet. "I have no idea where I was, where I am, and the only thing I remember is being at the hospital. Other than that, I have no idea about anything."

In a lengthy passage in the letter to his father in Massachusetts, Todt called himself a failure as a husband and a father, saying he wasn't able to protect his children or "fix" Megan. He said he wanted to die. Near the beginning of the letter, he said he has attempted suicide approximately eight times since the murders. He said he is no longer on suicide watch in the jail, which he had been for months, according to officials.

"I wanted to die to be with my family and also I felt I didn't deserve to live," Todt wrote.

At different points in the letter, Todt described a loving relationship with Megan and great relationships with the kids. He detailed the pains he took to move the family to Florida, commute there, and help Megan through her illness, which had to do with Lyme disease. He said the media and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office are making him out to be the next "Butcher of Baghdad," but that with the help of one of his sisters, counseling and chaplain services, "I am beginning to resemble the proud man I was prior to the incident, which shattered me beyond comprehensible ways."

Todt wrote that he is in "isolated, protected custody to protect me (as I am not jail material), and to protect my case."

In February, a friend of Todt's from high school, Debra Sajkowicz, said Todt sent her messages last winter saying that his wife hadn't "been herself" due to her illnesses.

"It's hard sometimes, it's changed our whole relationship in all aspects, as day to day she doesn't know how she'll feel. Let alone minute by minute," one message read. "My frolicking, energetic Megan is on the side burner right now. Well the last three years, and three years prior to that. It's okay though, I'm madly in love with her and she will get better."

Todt also blamed Megan for the health care fraud in the letter, saying that, after he reviewed the case, he found the time frame was "when Meg took over the billing."

In December, after Todt learned of the fraud investigation, he said he stayed in Florida in order to watch Megan because of "red flags." He alleged Megan ran the family's finances, although he knew about credit card debt, which he thought was going to be paid from January to June 2020. He mentioned two business loans that were to be paid off in the beginning of January and March, as well as "the mortgage for condo at Wells Fargo ... the house rental we were evicted from for not paying December and January (obviously)" and other financial obligations. He said Megan had assured him everything would be paid off.

Todt concluded the letter by floating the idea of a nonprofit organization in memory of the family named after the first initials of the deceased — MATZB2019 ... Alive and at Peace," which would be "dedicated to providing resources and services to the chronically ill." He extended an "olive branch" to his father, though he wasn't sure of the type of relationship he wants with him.

Todt offered his father forgiveness for not being at home to protect his family on March 19, 1980, when Todt's mother was shot in the face by an intruder. Four months later, on July 25, Robert Todt was arrested and charged with trying to kill his wife in a murder-for-hire plot. Despite serving a prison sentence, Robert Todt maintains his innocence in this matter.

In March, Robert Todt told The Day that he went decades without speaking to his son and daughter. They reconnected briefly years ago but quickly drifted apart again. Robert Todt said his daughter, Chrissy, sent him a message saying Tony was being triggered by their rekindled relationship and suffering from nightmares as he had as a child after his mother was shot.

Robert Todt said Monday that he and his son have spoken on the phone three times since he received the letter on June 29. He's been writing letters to Tony every few days since his arrest, he said. This is the first time he's received a letter in return.

They most recently spoke on July 20 after Robert Todt called the jail, worried about his son. He said he's been scared every day that his son will contract COVID-19 as cases skyrocket in Florida.

Robert Todt said that in their phone calls, his son has maintained his innocence and stuck to the same story any time they discussed the case. "It was like word for word and nothing changed, every single time."

When asked if his son indicated why his wife might have killed herself and their children, he said his son "had said Megan was having some issues."

"He just said she'd had enough," the elder Todt said.

Robert Todt said he was shocked and upset that the letter was released before his son had his day in court, and he plans to speak with the state's attorney about it.

Todt's case is scheduled to have a pretrial hearing on Dec. 16.

Robert Todt said his son said that when he goes to court he plans to "stand up there and tell the truth."

s.spinella@theday.com

t.hartz@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version clarifies that, in a letter sent from jail last month, Anthony Todt claims his wife gave their children drug-laced pie before she stabbed and suffocated them, then stabbed herself.

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