Posted: 9:18 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013

Husband of missing Deltona woman charged with murder

Suarez and children
Suarez and children

DELTONA, Fla. —

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said it has  charged a man with second-degree murder in the death of his wife.

Deputies announced the murder charges against Luis Toledo, a suspect in the case of missing 28-year-old Yessenia Suarez and her two children, 8-year-old Michael Otto and 9-year-old Thalia Otto. The three disappeared Oct. 23.

Investigators said Toledo admitted that while arguing with Suarez on Oct. 22, he hit her in the throat with his open hand and she died from the blow. They said Toledo hasn't said where her body is.

According to investigators, Toledo denied killing the children and has implicated someone else in their deaths.

No charges have been filed yet related to Suarez' two children.

Investigators said Toledo told them he has been trained in martial arts and "knows how to deliver strikes."

Sheriff's investigators met with Suarez' family Monday evening to tell them about the arrest.

Felicia Perez, mother of Suarez, begged Toledo to tell investigators where her daughter and grandchildren are.

"Luis, I beg you Luis you the main one. You know you're the only one. If you can hear this or see this, you're the only one who knows where they are," Perez said.

Toledo is being held without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach, he is scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday afternoon.

The search for the bodies of the Volusia County mother and her two children was put on hold Monday.

Investigators said they were going to look over their notes while they decide Monday how best to continue the search, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

On Thursday, investigators announced the mother and children are dead, but their bodies have yet to be located.

Investigators said while deputies were at the house where Toledo and Suarez lived, Toledo drove up in a silver Saturn.

He claimed he slept in his car after he got into a fight with Suarez Tuesday night. He said when he woke up his wife and her children were gone, according to investigators.

A neighbor said Toledo asked him for help dropping off his wife's black Honda at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. He agreed and followed behind Toledo in his wife's black Honda. They then drove back together in the Saturn, according to a release.  

Deputies said they found blood in the house.

Family member said they're frustrated with the lack of answers in the disappearance of their loved ones is what motivated them.

"We'll go out there and start our search because we're pretty much frustrated with the Sheriff's Office. We haven't heard anything in 36 hours," Ruben Perez, the victim's stepfather said.

"I do have a feeling (Yessenia) is gone. I do have that feeling. But I hope my grandkids, I feel like my grandkids are alive," said Felicia Perez on Monday.

Luis Toledo, 31, is the sole person of interest in the case. He has been in custody in Volusia County on a domestic battery charge since Wednesday.

Yessenia's mother and stepfather spoke publicly for the second time, asking the public not to forget about her, Michael Otto and Thalia Otto.

"I'm getting devastated already. This morning I woke up like, 'I can't. I can't anymore. I need to find my daughter, my grandkids," Felicia Perez said.

Investigators said Toledo tried to kill himself over the weekend but is still cooperating.

According to authorities, Toledo was being questioned Saturday morning when he asked to use the bathroom.

Officials said Toledo was guarded by a deputy but forced the doorway closed, smashed his head on the mirror and tried to use pieces of the mirror to cut himself.

Deputies said he was quickly secured and had to be taken to Halifax Health Medical Center to be treated for cuts, which were non-life-threatening. Toledo has been released from the hospital and is back in the jail, officials said.

WFTV was there Thursday as investigators pulled potential evidence out of a set of dumpsters in Sanford. The next day, Skywitness 9 HD flew over a landfill in Geneva where investigators were bagging up several items. Authorities would not confirm whether the searches were related to the disappearances.

Suarez's father, Emilio Suarez, said he had been holding out hope that his daughter and grandchildren were still alive.

The search for the mother and children started Wednesday after family members called the Sheriff's Office and asked for a well-being check on Suarez at her Covent Gardens Place home in Deltona. But when deputies responded to the Deltona address, Suarez and her children weren't there.

Lake Mary police found one of Suarez's two vehicles at a Publix parking lot, but there was no sign of her or her children, deputies said.

Suarez was the victim of domestic violence involving Toledo on Tuesday in Lake Mary. WFTV learned Toledo and Suarez had been talking about separating and that Toledo was angry about some text messages he found on his wife's phone. He showed up Suarez's Lake Mary workplace, where he confronted and allegedly slapped her, according to investigators.

Suarez's family said the three disppeared just hours after the incident. Toledo was later found and arrested for a domestic battery charge out of Lake Mary.

A judge denied bond for Toledo when he appeared in court on Friday.

Volusia County deputies said because it is an active law enforcement investigation, they are not permitting civilians to help in the search for the bodies.

More News

 
Featured Articles
Ads By Google
 
Download Channel 9's News and Weather apps

Download Channel 9's News & Weather apps

Channel 9 Eyewitness News has produced the most accurate local news and weather technology available, our digital News and Weather apps.