While there’s no denying every death is incredibly heartbreaking, the grief and despair surrounding them grow multi-fold when it’s not just unnatural but also needless and entirely senseless. Unfortunately, as carefully chronicled in Investigation Discovery’s ‘Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death: A Deal With the Devil,’ this was the kind of end Patricia “Tricia” Todd met in 2016. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about the same — with a focus on what precisely transpired, its ensuing investigations, as well as the overall aftermath — we’ve got the details for you.
How Did Tricia Todd Die?
At the age of 30, Tricia was genuinely leading a good, merry, stable life in Hobe Sound, Florida, as a daughter, sister, mother, co-parent, and Air Force Veteran when everything turned upside down. The truth is she was working at a hospice with plans of becoming a registered nurse because she felt as if that was her true calling, plus she wanted to provide for her 2-year-old daughter Faith. It turns out she and her lifelong friend turned fellow airman turned ex-husband Steven William had recently divorced following 11 years of marriage, yet it was amicable for the sake of their little girl.
However, things reportedly changed around 2016, resulting in Tricia being reported missing by loved ones on April 27 after she uncharacteristically failed to show up for work as well as for Faith. One of her brothers, Jonathan, was actually the first to realize something was amiss as he’d visited her residence to see if she was okay, only to find it empty despite her car being parked outside. Though this vehicle was across the street rather than in its usual spot, plus her purse was still inside — there’s also the fact some groceries had been left out inside her place with the lights still on.
It honestly initially appeared as if Tricia planned to return quickly wherever she’d gone, but that never happened — an extensive search for this single mother of one hence commenced in full force. But alas, it was only when her perpetrator revealed the truth of having killed her to local authorities on May 24, 2016, that she – or rather her partial, skeletal remains – were recovered for good. She’d been mercilessly buried in a container filled with acid in the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland Wildlife & Environmental Area near the Martin plus Palm Beach counties of South Florida. She’d been beaten to death before being mutilated.
Who Killed Tricia Todd?
Despite the fact Tricia’s family had earnestly told investigators they didn’t believe her ex-husband Steven Williams was responsible for her sudden disappearance, that’s the first place they looked. After all, surveillance footage, witnesses, plus cell phone records from the evening of April 26, 2016, painted a clear picture of her grocery shopping, returning home, and later visiting him at an AirBnB.This North Carolina-based Air Force officer was purportedly in Florida around the fateful week solely to visit his young daughter, and he confirmed his former partner was with him but just briefly.
Steven then spoke to detectives about how Tricia was due to collect Faith in the morning before work, only for him to drop their girl off at her babysitter’s since he too had to head back for duty. He then asserted he had no idea of his ex’s whereabouts, yet he wasn’t too worried at first because she was known for sometimes going on long walks completely alone to really connect with God. This line of inquiry did cause two names to pop up almost immediately — one of a man who’d once spoken to her and another of someone she appeared to fancy — yet neither led anywhere concrete.
Officials thus turned their attention to Tricia’s past as well as personal belongings, through which they learned neither her relationship nor her separation from Steven was as amicable as it seemed. In her private journals, she’d detailed a dark side of her ex that only his mother could corroborate — while she’d penned the abuse she’d endured at his hands, the latter claimed he hated his ex-wife. According to records, this airman had apparently kicked her in the stomach when she was pregnant with Faith to such an extent she’d grown scared for her life, and he’d even strangled two of her dogs.
That’s when investigators took a look at some surveillance footage from near Tricia’s place, just to uncover Steven driving both his car and Tricia’s car in that area the night she went missing. He was hence brought into custody, shortly following which he admitted to having slain his ex out of pure hatred — he did briefly try to go down the accident route, yet his efforts were premeditated. In fact, as per his own statements, he’d traveled with acid and a chainsaw from North Carolina, plus he’d already dug her burial spot in the John C. and Mariana Jones/Hungryland Wildlife & Environmental Area.
Steven actually spent the entire day of April 26, 2016, gathering up the courage to murder Tricia, he told detectives, which he put into motion the moment she stepped out of his AirBnB. He asked her to come back, he said, just to knock her unconscious before waking her up with a demand for her email ID and password — he wanted to make it appear as if she’d run away on her own accord. However, because she started screaming, he added, he punched her with enough force to kill her — then, at the reserve, he removed her teeth as well as fingertips prior to dismembering and burying her in acid.
Where is Steven Williams Now?
Upon being asked his motives, Steven confessed he wanted revenge against Tricia for disrespecting him with the divorce, wanted full custody of Faith, and was also looking for financial benefits. In the end, all he received was a 35-year plus 5-year prison sentence (with credit for 130 days already served) after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder and child neglect. He was also ordered to pay more than $67,000 to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office to cover the cost of this investigation, which has obviously been hard for him to do from behind bars. Today, at the age of 38, he remains incarcerated at the Jefferson Correctional Institute in Monticello, Florida, where he’s expected to remain until at least February 2049.