Texas EquuSearch to help in search for bodies of missing Deltona mom, children



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Texas EquuSearch will be aiding in the search for the bodies of a missing Deltona mother and her two children, Volusia County sheriff's investigators announced Wednesday.

The group will help in the search for Yessenia Suarez, 28, and her two children, Michael Otto, 8, and Thalia Otto, 9. The three disappeared from their Deltona home Oct. 23.

Suarez's husband, Luis Toledo, 31, has confessed to killing Suarez, according to investigators, but he denied killing the children. He told investigators he killed Suarez when he hit her in the throat during an argument. Investigators said Toledo has refused to tell them where Suarez's body is.

Toledo has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Suarez.

Sheriff's investigators said representatives from Texas EquuSearch, a Texas-based organization that specializes in searches for missing people, are in town coordinating with investigators and looking at additional areas to be searched.

According to investigators, the search organization is expected to bring in 30-40 searchers on Saturday, including some on horseback. Sheriff's department personnel will also help in the search on Saturday, officials said.

The nonprofit will bring in horses, ATVs, sonar and ground-penetrating radar.

Investigators have spent several days searching areas around Suarez's home and local landfills.

Texas EquuSearch's searchers spent time in Orange County helping in the search for 2-year-old Caylee Anthony in 2008.

Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony was charged with first-degree murder in the death of the girl. She was acquitted in a high-profile trial.

Since the abduction and murder of his own daughter 29 years ago, Tim Miller made it his mission to find missing loved ones.

Thirteen years ago he started Texas EquuSearch.

"Many, many cases we recover stuff law enforcement has missed. We've recovered several bodies certified cadaver dogs have missed," Miller said.

He said the volunteer search organization found its 168th deceased victim three weeks ago.

"These are emotional things, family's going through very, very tough times," Tim Miller said.

With unsuccessful recovery efforts, the Sheriff's Office gave its blessing for citizen searchers to fan out and join the effort.

Initially it held back on outside help, worried any potential evidence might be contaminated.

"We promised the family we would do the best job we could do," Miller said.