Deputies say a Volusia County man charged with the murders of his wife and her two children has built a shrine to them in his jail cell.
- Luis Toledo is charged with murder in the deaths of wife, her children
- Corrections officers say a search of Toledo's cell found items arranged like a ritualistic shrine
- Included: photos of the victims with a red dot on each of them
Luis Toledo is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Yessenia Suarez, and first-degree murder in the deaths of her children, 8-year-old Michael Otto and 9-year-old Thalia Otto.
Suarez and her children were last seen in October 2013. Their bodies have not been found.
On March 27, the Volusia County Division of Corrections said a shakedown of the cell block where Toledo is being held was conducted. When his cell was searched corrections officers said they found several items in the corner of the cell.
Investigators say among the items found were:
- a mask-like object with what appears to have eyes and a nose painted on it with a photos of Yessenia, Michael and Thalia inside, each with a red dot on them;
- a newspaper clipping with a photo of Toledo in court with a red mark through Judge Raul Zambrano's name;
- a cross made from a white T-shirt;
- paper cup filled with water;
- an orange;
- dried bread.
A corrections officer report states that the objects were arranged in what appeared to be "some form of ritualistic, possibly Santeria."
The news was very upsetting to Felicia Perez, Yessenia Suarez's mother.
"I’m shocked to hear he’s doing that with my kids' pictures... in the cell," Perez said. "He’s a monster. I don’t know what else to think."
Santeria is a syncretic religion of Caribbean origin that developed in the Spanish empire among West African descendants and grew out of the slave trade in Cuba. Santeria is also a Spanish word that means the worship of saints.
Toldeo's trial date has not been set. The trial was set to begin in February but was continued after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down Florida's death penalty sentencing procedure, ruling it unconstitutional.
In March, Gov. Rick Scott signed Florida’s new death sentencing law. The new law requires that 10 of 12 jurors have to agree to impose the death penalty but have to be unanimous in deciding that there were aggravation factors that justify a death sentence.