A 31-year-old reputed gang member is charged with the second-degree murder of his wife, whose body hasn't been found after six days of searching.
Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said Luis Toledo told deputies on Monday that he struck a deathblow to Yessenia Suarez' throat during an argument. He denies involvement in the deaths of her children — 8-year-old Michael Otto and 9-year-old Thalia Otto. Instead, Davidson said, Toledo implicated someone else.
The family was last seen a week ago.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports family members told investigators Suarez had talked about leaving Toledo, but said their violent arguments had not been reported to authorities.
"The conflict apparently came to a head Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 22), when Toledo showed up at his wife's workplace in Lake Mary to confront her and a co-worker who she had been seeing," Davidson said.
Authorities said Toledo slapped Suarez in the face and left. The next morning, Suarez' mother asked deputies to check on her and the children because she was concerned they may have been harmed.
Toledo drove up in a silver Saturn and told deputies that he and his wife had argued at the house the night before and he drove away and returned late, Davidson said. Toledo told investigators he slept in the car and when he woke up about 8 a.m. Wednesday, his wife and children were gone. The reason he showed up while deputies were there, he said, was because he was heading to work when he realized he had forgotten his wallet. So he turned around and drove home.
According to deputies, a neighbor told them Toledo had knocked on his window about 6 a.m. asking for help dropping off his wife's car. The neighbor followed Toledo to Lake Mary, driving the silver Saturn, while Toledo followed in his wife's black car. The neighbor and Toledo then drove back to Deltona.
Davidson said there was blood inside the Suarez' home.
While Toledo initially denied involvement, he told investigators that Suarez had become aggressive with him so he "struck her in the throat with an open hand and she subsequently died from the blow."
He's being held without bail in the Volusia County Jail near Daytona Beach.