More evidence was uncovered Wednesday in the murder of Tricia Todd, the Hobe Sound mother who disappeared last month, and whose remains were found last week buried in the Hungryland preserve in rural Martin County.
Shortly after divers entered a canal not far from where Tricia Todd’s remains were located, the first major find was a set of pliers.
A connection made to a group of nine human teeth found along the canal bank, most likely from the victim.
“It would seem apparent that they were removed by Steven Williams (Todd's ex-husband) for the purpose of frustrating our investigators in what he had to assume would be their efforts to identify Tricia’s remains," said Sheriff William Snyder.
A short time later, a saw blade was found, followed by two saws, one a reciprocating saw used to sometimes cut drywall. The second, a chainsaw. Snyder says these discoveries reinforcing their initial thoughts about what happened to Tricia Todd.
“We believe that she was murdered by Mr. Williams by manual strangulation, he used his hands. We say that because there was no blood evidence in the home," said Snyder.
The sheriff says hair was discovered on the tools.
“We will be able to say beyond a reasonable doubt that those are the tools that Williams used subsequent to the homicide,” said Snyder.
Officials determined that Williams purchased the saws on the online retailer Amazon.com in late March.
The Todd family approved a plea deal with Williams for a 35-year sentence on second degree murder charges. With the evidence now pointing towards a premeditated act, could that deal be taken off the table?
“I am not sure that anything that occurs here today will substantially change that. This evidence is likely not going to change anything," said Snyder.
Steven Williams' sentencing hearing is set for June 24.
Dr. Heather Walsh Haney of Florida Gulf Coast University examined Todd's remains on Thursday, June 2.
A memorial service for Tricia Todd will be held Tuesday June 7 at 7 p.m. at Christ Fellowship in Stuart off Seminole Pratt Whitney Road.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said during a Wednesday news conference that nine teeth believed to be Tricia Todd's were found by search crews at the Hungryland Preserve.
A detective entering a canal first noticed a tooth on the bank of the waterway. A careful search then yielded eight more teeth.
Also recovered were hair, two battery-powered saws and pliers.
Snyder said they believe Todd died from "manual strangulation” and her dismemberment was done later.
Search crews are back at the canal near the site where the remains of the Hobe Sound mother were found last week.
— Christina Noce WPTV (@NoceWPTV) June 1, 2016
Sonar technology picked up something in the canal earlier in the week, prompting Wednesday's search. Alligators and snakes have been an obstacle so far.
Starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, crews used small boats to search for clues on the canal.
Detectives say Todd's ex-husband, Steven Williams, who confessed to killing her, faces charges of second-degree murder.
Snyder said they are no longer looking for remains but are searching for tools that were possibly used to kill Todd.
A memorial service to remember the life of the Hobe Sound mother will be held June 7 at Christ Fellowship Church at 7 p.m.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.