"Man is the scariest monster alive."
-Sandra R. Campbell
It was the 26th of April 2016. A Tuesday. Tricia Todd spent the day with her ex husband Steven Williams and their 2 year old daughter Faith. Even though they divorced after eleven years of marriage, the separation was amicable and they had known each other since they were children. Tricia and Steven were both in the Air Force but after their divorce,33 year old Tricia left and moved to Hobe Sound , Florida, United States with Faith. She was familiar with the area as she was from there and her family still lived there. She planned to become a registered nurse and got a job working in a hospice.
Tricia, Steven and Faith
Tricia had custody of Faith and Steven was able to see Faith whenever he wanted. As he was in the Air Force, his visits depended on the time he had. He visited Tricia and Faith that week in April. He drove down from the base in North Carolina and got an AirBnB in Florida. That day, the 26th of April, Tricia left Faith with him for the evening.
Tricia and Faith
The next day, Tricia was due to collect Faith from the babysitter and go to work. But she didn't show up. That was just something she would not do. Her family went to her house to check to see if she was there. She wasn't. Her car was outside but not in the usual car space, it was across the street. Her purse was inside the car. The house itself had some groceries left out and the lights on so it looked like wherever Tricia was , she didn't intend staying for too long. She was reported missing. Police discovered security footage from the 26th of April 2016. Tricia was shopping in a grocery store. The items she bought during that trip were inside her house. Everything up until that point seemed normal.
A neighbour saw Tricia leave that evening in her car and her cell phone records revealed she had been at the AirBnB with Steven. He confirmed that she had been there but left after a while. Steven told police that Tricia was due to collect Faith the next morning but when she didn't show up he dropped Faith off with the babysitter as he had to go to work. He had no idea where Tricia was but he confirmed she would sometimes go out walking to connect with God. She would always do this alone. Her family confirmed this was true.
Tricia and Steven
Police looked into this and discovered that she frequently went for walks alone along the beach and one man in particular had spoken to her. He was quickly cleared of any involvement as security footage revealed that on the night Tricia went missing he was on the beach watching turtles laying eggs. There was no sign of Tricia in the footage. They also looked at men in Tricia's life and one man in particular that she seemed obsessed with but there was nothing at all to connect him or anyone else to Tricia's disappearance.
Police began to look through Tricia's belongings like her cell phone and diary to try to figure out where she may have gone. A journal revealed something that even her own family had not been aware of. While her divorce with Steven seemed amicable and it looked like they had a good relationship, Tricia's journal revealed that Steven had a darker side. Steven had abused Tricia in the past, he had kicked her in the stomach when she was pregnant and she was frightened of him. He even strangled two of her little dogs. Steven's mother revealed that Steven hated Tricia and wanted her to disappear. She believed he was involved in her disappearance.
Tricia and Faith
Police now knew that Steven was more than likely involved in Tricia's disappearance but they needed evidence. They found security footage of Steven driving both his car and Tricia's car the night she went missing. Footage also placed him near Tricia's house.
Tricia and Faith
Initially, Steven denied any involvement. He repeatedly said that he had no idea where Tricia was. After further questioning, he eventually admitted to knowing something but his story changed a number of times. However, one thing was clear. Tricia was dead.
The focus moved from finding Tricia alive to locating her body and trying to ascertain what happened to her.
At first Steven claimed he found Tricia dead and disposed of her body. He then claimed he accidentally killed Tricia that night but his final confession revealed the true extent of his depravity.
The day he spent with Tricia and Faith, the 26th of April, he spent the entire day trying to get the courage to kill Tricia. He did not visit Florida to spend time with Faith, he went to Florida to kill Tricia. When she left for the night, he asked her to come back. When she returned he immediately knocked her unconscious. Tricia woke up and Steven demanded her email password. He wanted to send everyone an email to say that Tricia had left of her own accord. Tricia was hysterical and began screaming. Steven punched her again with such force that he knew it would kill her.
Steven had the entire thing planned out. He had previously bought a chainsaw in North Carolina and acid and had dug a hole in Hungryland Wildlife Reserve. When he murdered Tricia, he put her body in a trash bag , then he put the bag in her car. He planned to drive her car. That was when his plan began to unravel. There was no gas in Tricia's car so he had to go buy some which placed him on various security footage tapes.
When he got the gas, Steven drove Tricia's body to the Reserve. Using the chainsaw he bought in North Carolina, he removed Tricia's teeth and fingertips so that she would not be identified and dismembered her. He placed her body parts in a tub that had been filled with acid in an attempt to dissolve any trace of Tricia.
When asked why he did it, he claimed he wanted full custody of Faith and he was tired of Tricia disrespecting him. He also said there were financial reasons.
Steven led police to where he had buried the tub containing Tricia's body parts. In exchange for revealing the location, he was charged with the lesser charge of second degree murder and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Tricia's death was a violent and brutal death. Steven would have no doubt faced the death penalty had he not taken the plea deal.
For this particular crime, 35 years is far too lenient. Any man who can kill little dogs and show no remorse will have no issue taking the life of a human being.Even Steven's own mother knew he was involved when Tricia disappeared. He planned Tricia's murder and dismemberment and it had no impact at all on him even though she was the mother of his child. He is a cold and calculated killer. A man like that should never be released.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello