Police Allege Air Force Sgt. Used Chainsaw to Cut Up Remains of Ex-Wife Air Force Veteran Who Had Been Missing Since April
The ex-husband of a 30-year-old Air Force veteran who went missing last month has been arrested and charged with the woman’s murder, PEOPLE confirms.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Williams is charged with second-degree murder and child neglect in the death of his former wife Tricia Todd, a mother and nurse who was last seen at a Publix supermarket in Hobe Sound, Florida, on April 26, a spokesperson with the Martin County Attorney’s Office tells PEOPLE.
Williams, who was arrested Wednesday and agreed to plead no contest to the second-degree murder charges, admitted to being involved in Todd’s death and led investigators to her remains. As part of the plea deal, he was given 35 years in prison rather than face a possible life sentence, the spokesperson said.
Sheriff William Snyder said at a Friday press conference that authorities believe Williams killed his ex-wife and used a chainsaw to dispose of her remains.
The spokesperson tells PEOPLE that investigators believe Williams has not been completely honest with them. “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 spokesperson says, but he adds that “the condition of the body doesn’t support [Williams’] version of the events.”
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Williams led police to a shallow grave in Hobe Sound’s Hungryland State Preserve, police announced in a Facebook post on Thursday. Officials expected to work on excavating the site through the night.
Todd’s visit to the local Publix was her last public sighting before going to meet her ex-husband and their 2-year-old daughter.
At a Wednesday news conference, Syder said the toddler was likely there when her mother was killed.
Todd didn’t show up for work the next morning, April 27, and her father called authorities when she didn’t pick the 2-year-old daughter up later that afternoon.
Snyder said the little girl is now living with family members.