Overview of Michael Otto
Michael Otto, along with his sister Thalia Otto and mother Yessenia Suarez, disappeared on October 22, 2013, from their home in Deltona, Florida. The family lived with Yessenia's husband and children's stepfather, Luis Toledo. The couple's marriage was reportedly in trouble, and Yessenia was having an affair with a coworker at her workplace, American K-9 Detection Services in Lake Mary.
On the day of their disappearance, Toledo went to Yessenia's workplace and argued with her about the affair, then left before police arrived. Later, he called his mother-in-law, begging her to convince Yessenia not to press charges against him. Yessenia joined Michael and Thalia at her mother's house, where Toledo called and warned that "something would happen" if she tried to get an injunction against him. Yessenia left to get the injunction but changed her mind and returned without it.
Toledo then came to the house and complained about the state of the marriage before leaving again. Initially, Yessenia planned to spend the night there with her children, but later changed her mind and took them home. The following morning, Yessenia failed to call her mother, as she usually did. Her mother became worried and called the police, who found the family's home empty.
Authorities discovered Yessenia's two vehicles, one in her driveway and the other in a nearby parking lot. In October 2013, police named Toledo as the prime suspect in the presumed deaths of Yessenia and her children. Toledo had an extensive arrest record, including several counts of aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, shooting into an occupied dwelling, kidnapping, and attempted second-degree murder. However, most charges against him had been dropped, and he served four years for burglary, robbery, and kidnapping.
In January 2014, Toledo was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Thalia and Michael, and in October 2017, he was convicted of second-degree murder in Yessenia's case and first-degree murder in Thalia and Michael's deaths. Toledo was sentenced to life in prison.
Evidence found implicated Toledo in all three presumed deaths, including Thalia's blood on Toledo's boot and the trunk mat from Yessenia's Honda Accord. Toledo confessed to killing Yessenia but denied killing the children and blamed a neighbor for their deaths. Jackson, the neighbor, had contacted the police about Toledo's behavior, stating that Toledo had asked him to help move Yessenia's car to Lake Mary, where he saw Toledo wiping down the car with cleaning solution and disposing of the trunk mat and a plastic bag containing rugs, some clothing, and cleaning products in the dumpster.
The Latin Kings, a gang of which Toledo was a member, does not sanction the killing of children, although they do condone the murder of unfaithful wives and girlfriends. Despite extensive searches, no sign of Yessenia, Michael, or Thalia has been found, and foul play is suspected in their disappearances due to the circumstances involved.