Slain woman's boyfriend testifies in day 2 of Volusia triple-murder trial

Kevin Dredden last person to hear from Yessenia Suarez before she disappeared

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist , Loren Korn - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The triple-murder trial for a Volusia County man accused of killing his wife and her two children continues Thursday in St. Augustine.

Luis Toledo, 35, is accused of killing 28-year-old Yessenia Suarez and her two children, Thalia Otto, 9, and Michael Otto, 8, in Volusia County in October of 2013. Their bodies have never been found.

Suarez's boyfriend took the stand for the prosecution Thursday. The state argues Toledo carried out the murders after learning of his wife's affair through a spyware app he installed on her phone.

Victim disappeared the day after workplace fight with her husband

Kevin Dredden, who was also married, worked with Suarez at American K9 and said their relationship transformed from professional to personal in January 2013, but that they didn’t start “hooking up” until April of that year.

[Luis Toledo trial day 1: 'I'll never tell you where the bodies are']

Toledo came to their Lake Mary workplace on Oct. 22, the day before Suarez and her children went missing, after learning of the affair and confronted Dredden. A receptionist called police and reported that Toldedo went into the building and began yelling about the affair to their co-workers.

“Tell me the truth, or I’m going to smack the s—out of you,” Dredden said Toledo told him.

Toledo left their office as police arrived, police said. The Lake Mary police officer who responded to the disturbance also testified Thursday. He testified that he saw Toledo's car speeding away.

Dredden and Suarez planned to meet up the last night she was seen alive. On Oct. 23, Dredden said authorities showed up at his house and told him Suarez and her children were reported missing from their Deltona home.

Dredden said he received strange text messages from Suarez the night of Oct. 22. One text message said “We should tell Shelly everything.” Dredden said this was odd, because his wife's name is Ruby.

The last time Dredden spoke with Suarez was at 12:49 a.m. He said her speech was slurred and he was concerned for her safety.

House smelled of cleaning supplies, investigators say

Investigators then walked the jury through crime scene photos and what Toledo said happened the next morning.

Toledo told investigators he got home around 11 p.m.  and slept in his car. When he went inside the home, his wife and the children were not there.

Deputy Wayne Miller told jurors on Thursday he vividly remembers what the house smelled like: Pine-Sol and cleaning supplies.

"It was a very strong, overwhelming odor of cleaning agent. I associated it with the smell of Pine-Sol," Miller said.

Miller went to the home for a well-being check after Suarez’s mother called in concerned for her daughter’s safety.

Twelve jurors and three alternates were seated Wednesday morning for the first day of trial before Circuit Judge Raul Zamradbo in St. Augustine.

The trial is expected to last several weeks. Toledo faces the death penalty if convicted.

Get live updates from the courtroom below from News 6 reporter Loren Korn.

 

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