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Tricia Todd likely dismembered by chainsaw

Posted: 5:46 AM, May 27, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-28 07:40:16-04

Sheriff William Snyder said Friday that most of Tricia Todd's remains have not been found, and it appears she was dismembered by a chainsaw. 

Crews continued to search the Hungryland Preserve in Martin County for her body after some remains were located Thursday night and a small amount of tissue was found Friday. The Sheriff said no significant missing body parts have been located.

Authorities concluded their search at Hungryland Preserve on Friday evening and confirmed that they won't return to search at that site. The park has reopened to the public.

Investigators haven't found the chainsaw or any other weapon involved in the case.

"We will not be satisfied until all of Tricia Todd's remains are recovered," said Snyder. "It's going to be a long day."

Crews on Thursday night located partial remains buried about three miles inside Hungryland Preserve in Martin County.

Snyder said the remains were in a large plastic container about 3 feet in the ground and in the advanced stages of decomposition.  The container was full of liquid that was some type of acid.

There's nothing conclusive to tell where Todd was killed. 

The medical examiner is now working on an autopsy of the remains to confirm if they are Todd.

On Thursday night, detectives said Todd's former husband, Steven Williams, directed them to the location after pleading no contest to second-degree murder in exchange for a 35-year prison sentence.

Snyder said the Todd family agreed to the plea deal so they could gain closure. The sheriff said personally he would have done the same.

An account has been set up to help care for Todd's daughter Faith and fund additional search efforts. 

"I made a deal with the devil," says prosecutor

Regarding the plea deal, Asst. State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl said Friday that justice is not often times perfect, but sometimes we have to take what we get.

Bakkedahl said if a court determines Williams broke the terms of the plea deal, the case could go to trial.

"This was premeditated murder, and I made a deal with the devil," said Bakkedahl. "I will put this man on a slow bus to death row."

The state attorney said Friday that Williams has been attempting to manipulate law enforcement and attorneys with lies the entire time and has shown no remorse.

"In my opinion, Williams broke the plea deal," said Bakkedahl.

The deal had stated that Williams would be sentenced June 24 if he met the agreed terms.

He is currently on suicide watch, according to the sheriff's office.

How did Tricia Todd die?

Williams said he and his ex-wife got into an argument over money and he pushed her, causing her to fall and fatally hit her head.

Williams said he then put her body in her car and drove to her house.  However, he said he turned around when he saw lights on at the home. 

Williams said he then drove along Bridge Road, turned on a dirt road and dumped her body.

Deal in jeopardy?

Snyder said Williams did not disclose a second location of Todd’s remains, putting the plea deal in jeopardy.

WPTV legal analyst Michelle Suskauer said there are three options in the case:

  • Another plea offer can be negotiated with the state
  • Williams could enter a plea in court and be sentenced by a judge
  • Williams could go to trial

“Clearly we’re not satisfied with what we have tonight, this is a wrinkle or a hurdle that we could not have anticipated, and the family with our agreement entered a negotiated plea, so we could recover Tricia Todd’s remains,” said Snyder.

Without the plea of no contest, the sheriff maintains that they would have never found the remains.

Search for second burial site 

Crews are now looking in another area of Hungryland Preserve for more remains.