The family of Air Force veteran Tricia Todd, who was murdered in Martin County, Florida, in April, has forgiven her ex-husband for the heinous crime.
On April 26, 30-year-old Todd went missing. She was last seen at the Publix supermarket in Hobe Sound, Florida, with her 2-year-old daughter. On May 25, her former husband, Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Williams, was arrested and charged for her murder after confessing to Martin County detectives.
During a press conference held on May 27, Martin County’s Sheriff William Snyder announced that Williams may have used a chainsaw to dismember Todd. Although Williams admitted he killed his ex-wife, he hasn’t been forthcoming on exactly what he did with her remains. Authorities only found parts of Todd spread out in Hobe Sound’s Hungryland State Preserve. They continue to search the area in hopes that they can find the rest of her remains. Snyder provided the details.
“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….The condition of the body doesn’t support [Williams’] version of the events.”
People reported that Todd’s family, devastated by Williams’ confession, made the decision to forgive him, hoping that it will give them closure. Yet, it doesn’t mean that the family doesn’t want to see justice for Todd. According to a spokesperson for the family, Michelle Rocker, they have chosen forgiveness.
“The family has chosen to forgive him. That doesn’t mean that they do not want to see justice served, but they have forgiven him. Their hope is that he will come to the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ and seek forgiveness from God for what he has done. That is what Tricia wanted for him, and that’s what the family wants for him.”
Rocker also said that one of the major reasons the family chose to forgive Williams was because they didn’t want rage and bitterness to continue on in their hearts.
“It really does become a story about forgiveness. If you allow bitterness and rage and anger grow, it eats you alive. It’s really important to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that what he did is okay, but it’s best for everyone’s sake that they go this route.”
The family also conveyed that they’re extremely touched by the outpouring of support from people across the nation. In addition to offering to bring home-cooked meals to the family, many people have donated donated air miles and contributed to a CrowdRise page set up to help with funeral expenses and costs to help raise Todd’s daughter, Faith. Rocker made the following statement.
“People have been absolutely amazing. It restores everyone’s faith in humanity.”
Williams, who was based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina, initially denied any involvement in his ex-wife’s disappearance. He took a polygraph test shortly after she went missing, but Snyder told the media that Williams didn’t say anything to make authorities believe he was involved. Snyder later said that his statement was only done as part of an investigative technique used to help capture the suspect.
“I reserve the right, now and always, to say what I have to say throughout any answers I give to further the case.”
It’s still unclear exactly why Williams finally decided to confess, but it’s likely due to a plea deal he was offered. Authorities agreed to charge him with second-degree murder and 35 years in prison if he admitted to the crime and helped authorities locate Todd. So far, Williams hasn’t been cooperative in assisting authorities, which could possibly nullify his plea deal, which is what prosecutor Thomas Bakkedahl is hoping for. Last week, he said he hopes to put Williams on Death Row and bring in justice for Tricia Todd and her family.
“I will put this man on a slow bus to Death Row because in the end, this is a premeditated murder.”
[Image via Martin County Sheriff’s Office]