DeLAND, Fla. - A man who authorities say confessed to killing his wife pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in a Central Florida courtroom.
Luis Toledo's appeared at the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand after being charged with second-degree murder and domestic battery in the death of his wife, Yessenia Suarez.
Authorities have been searching Volusia and Seminole counties for the bodies of Suarez and her two children, 8-year-old Michael Otto and 9-year-old Thalia Otto. The three went missing Oct. 23 following a fight with Toledo.
Authorities say Toledo told them he used his martial arts skills to kill Suarez, but he has implicated someone else in the deaths of the children.
A Volusia County judge set a pre-trial hearing for January 21st, the trial to begin February.
Suarez's family did not wish to speak to media, but has been very vocal about their continued search for the bodies of the mother and her two children.
Suarez's mother later met with Toledo at the jail, but it's not clear what she discussed with him.
Luis Toledo's niece told Local 6 there are two families grieving. "They were my cousins, my little cousins. She was my aunt too, regardless of anything, that is our family. We are hurt too," said Selina Vargas.
Vargas told Local 6 her family has written letters to Toledo in jail, but have been returned.
"I don't see the monster that everyone sees. I look at him and I see my uncle, the man who raised me. He was an amazing father, an amazing husband."
As Toledo walked out of the courtroom, it appeared he tried to say something to Suarez's grieving family before he was rushed out.
Vargas said, 'We're sorry, we're sorry, that's all I can say is sorry, it doesn't change what happened."
Meanwhile, the search continues for the bodies of Suarez and her children. Texas Equusearch has since been brought in to assist in the search.
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