The trial of Luis Alberto Toledo continues Tuesday in a Florida courtroom. Prosecutors claim he committed the second-degree murder of his wife Yessenia Suarez, and the first-degree murders of her 8-year-old son Michael Otto, and her 9-year-old daughter Thalia Otto. He is also charged with tampering with physical evidence by covering up the crime. This is a death penalty case.
The bodies were never found, but authorities indicted him based on other evidence. Toledo allegedly went berserk on Oct. 22, 2013, according to the Lake Mary Police Department. Suarez said he stormed over to her workplace, got into an argument about a co-worker of hers, and slapped her. The couple had been talking about separating, and Luis discovered certain text messages on her phone, Yessenia said. Cops thought there was enough evidence to book Toledo: Police saw a red mark on Suarez’s face, indicating a possible attack, and co-workers heard the argument. But Toledo already left the scene, and was uncooperative when cops reached him by phone.
Volusia County sheriff’s deputies believe he killed Yessenia and her children on or about the next day. Their investigation started on Oct. 23, after Suarez’s mother prompted a welfare check. Deputies entered their home, and discovered an “obvious” smell of cleaning supplies, evidence of suspected blood, and the possible clean up of blood. In their charging affidavit, a neighbor later told them that Toledo asked him for help that morning. The witness said Toledo acted strangely, wiping down Yessenia’s black Honda, and throwing away stuff into a dumpster. Deputies also got in touch with Suarez’s co-worker. The man claimed he was her lover, and confirmed the domestic violence incident from Oct. 22. He said Yessenia called him just after midnight on Oct. 23. In a 15-minute conversation, she said she was at home with Toledo, and while everything wasn’t good, she believed everything would end up fine. Deputies said this co-worker was the last person to make contact with her.
Stay with LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network for continuing coverage of the trial.
Update – Oct. 26, 3:23 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the domestic violence allegation occurred in 2014. The correct year is 2013.