Man confesses to killing wife, 3 kids and dog in Florida home near Disney World

Authorities arrived at the home in the Disney-founded community of Celebration to serve a warrant when they found four dead bodies.

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By Doha Madani

A man confessed to killing his wife and three kids after authorities found the four bodies in a home just outside Walt Disney World in Celebration, Florida.

Anthony Todt, 44, has been arrested on multiple counts of homicide and one count of felony animal cruelty after he told authorities he murdered his family and their dog, Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said Wednesday. Deputies arrived Monday to arrest Todt for an unrelated federal investigation when they found the bodies during a safety check.

"Based on the initial investigation to include the suspect’s statements, the deaths have been determined to have occurred sometime toward the end of December," Gibson told reporters Wednesday.

Autopsies are being conducted to confirm the identities, but authorities believe based on Todt's confession that the bodies are that of his wife, Megan, and the couple’s three children, Gibson said.

The sheriff's office identified the children as Alek, 13, Tyler, 11, and Zoey, 4. The dog was identified as Breezy.

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County deputies conducted a wellness check on the home Dec. 29 after a family member from another state contacted authorities with concerns that the family was sick with the flu and hadn't been in touch for days. Gibson said that deputies were unable to make contact with the family but did not observe anything suspicious.

"This family is known to travel, so it wasn’t uncommon to think or even have a thought in your mind that they picked up and went to Clearwater or Cocoa Beach for the day or for a week," he said.

It is possible the family was already dead in the home by the time deputies conducted their check, the sheriff said.

Federal authorities contacted the sheriff's office Jan. 9 to ask for help in serving an arrest warrant for Todt. Gibson did not know what the cause for the federal warrant was, but said it pertained to an investigation in Connecticut.

A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Attorney General's Office confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that the office had an open False Claims Act investigation into Todt but could not comment further.

Todt and his wife owned Family Physical Therapy in Colchester, Connecticut, according to NBC affiliate WESH.

Court records show an eviction complaint was filed against the couple Dec. 22 for failure to pay rent on their Celebration home.

Celebration is a residential community, about 20 miles south of downtown Orlando, that was created by the Walt Disney Company in the 1990s.

Todt was being detained Wednesday, according to Gibson, but it is unclear whether he has a lawyer.