A 30-year-old Air Force veteran who went missing last month in Palm Beach, Florida, was likely chopped up with a chainsaw by her ex-husband, an Air Force Staff Sergeant.
People reports that on Friday, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder announced that Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Williams, of North Carolina, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with murdering his former wife, Tricia Todd. He’s also charged with child neglect after leaving their 2-year-old daughter alone, at the scene of the crime.
After an almost month-long exhaustive search for Todd, Williams admitted that he murdered her and as part of a plea deal, led detectives to her remains. Williams’ plea deal allowed him 35 years in prison for second degree murder as opposed to life behind bars. Yet, prosecutor Thomas Bakkedahl, who plans to argue for a stiffer sentence for the suspect, stated in Friday’s news conference that he’s determined to throw out the plea deal and put Williams on Death Row.
“I will put this man on a slow bus to Death Row because in the end, this is a premeditated murder.”
Williams told detectives that Todd was buried in the Hungryland State Preserve, close to Jupiter, Florida. Some of Todd’s remains were found on late Thursday afternoon after cadaver dogs searched over 2,000 acres between Martin County and Palm Beach. Her partial remains were found inside a container filled with a liquid that investigators believe to be acid. Snyder said they’ll continue to look until all of Todd’s remains are found.
“We will not be satisfied until we find all of her remains.”
Although it hasn’t yet been determined exactly where Todd was killed, it appeared that Williams chopped his ex-wife’s limbs into pieces with a chainsaw. Williams hasn’t been forthcoming with exactly what happened, according to a spokesperson to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
“He said he shoved her, she hit her head and then he placed her body somewhere out in the wilderness and wasn’t sure whether she was dead or alive.”
Williams said the incident occurred after arguing with his wife at a bed-and-breakfast, and after Todd hit her head on “something,” he put her in his vehicle. Their 2-year-old daughter, Faith, was likely witness to the event. Williams said he left his daughter behind at the inn and he took his wife to the state preserve. However, Williams has changed his story numerous times, and Snyder now thinks that that they may never know exactly what happened unless all of Todd’s remains are found, which so far has proven to be a difficult task.
“Based on the current conditions of the remains, we may never know how she died. It depends on the state of the other remains, if found. Because of the way the dogs were alerting, we need to expand out until we find a chainsaw or murder weapon.
“We thought we would come out here and find her buried remains. There was no way we could have anticipated this.”
Bakkedahl said that Williams could face a harsher sentence if he fails to assist authorities in finding the rest of Todd’s remains. The prosecutor stated that based on the extensive search for the rest of Todd’s remains, he feels that Williams didn’t hold up to his end of the plea deal.
“I do believe, based on what transpired out here yesterday and where we are today, that he did not comply with the terms of the agreement.”
Meanwhile, a CrowdRise fundraiser was set up, in hopes to not only help with the expenses of finding the rest of Tricia Todd’s remains, but also to provide funds to help care for her daughter.
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