Real Name: Todd McAfee
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Myakka City, Florida
Date: August 17, 1987
Details: In the summer of 1986, twenty-six-year-old Todd McAfee became the manager of an isolated 300-acre tomato farm located off State Road 70 near Myakka City, Florida. The farm was owned by the Bonita Packing Company. He lived and had an office in a company trailer on the property. He was a hard worker who loved his job and had extensive knowledge on farming. He was also an avid gun collector and would often target shoot behind his home. It was well known in the area that he kept his valuable gun collection in his trailer.
At 6:30am on the morning of August 18, 1987, the farm's migrant laborers arrived there and were surprised to find that Todd had not unlocked the gate for them. His assistant Adam Williams arrived a few minutes later and had to let them in. He was surprised because Todd would normally open the gate before their arrival. He then noticed Todd's truck parked in front of his car near the trailer. He thought this was odd, as Todd normally parked it behind his car. By 7am, there was still no sign of Todd. Adam went over to check inside his trailer. He noticed two empty handgun cases on the floor. He also noticed that the answering machine's tape was missing; however, the spindles were still spinning. He turned the machine off.
Two hours later, another farm employee found a bag of groceries in the front seat of Todd's truck. They appeared to have been left overnight. They also found a newly rented videotape. The keys were still in the ignition. Lying in the bed of the pickup were Todd's glasses which were covered in blood. At around the same time, two miles away, some of the laborers were looking for water for their overheated truck when they discovered his body; he had been shot four times and dumped in a drainage ditch.
Investigators determined that Todd had been shot with .22 caliber hollow-point bullets. Spatters of blood were found in the sand near his body. This led them to believe that at least two people carried his body, placed it in the sand, and then picked it up again and placed it in the ditch. Locals knew that this ditch was the home of a fifteen-foot alligator. It was speculated that the killers had hoped that the alligator would eat the body. However, the body was discovered before this could occur.
Footprints were also discovered at the site. All of Todd's employees were interrogated and their shoes videotaped. However, no matches were found. Along with the bloody glasses, investigators found that the seat of Todd's truck was covered in blood. An empty gun case was also found on the truck's dashboard. Inside his ransacked trailer, they discovered that his gun collection, which included several handguns, rifles, and shotguns, was missing, along with a VCR and a few cameras. They suspected that he had been killed for his gun collection.
A receipt found in the grocery bag in Todd's truck helped pinpoint the time of his death to between 6:30 and 7pm. At around 6:15pm on the night of August 17, two of his friends passed by the trailer and noticed an orange van parked next to it. The orange van had been seen earlier at a local gas station. A customer had struck up a conversation with a female occupant of the van. One of the male occupants came out of the store, struck her repeatedly, and then forced her into the van. Another man also entered the van and the three left. The witness was later put under hypnosis. She was able to give a more detailed description of the van and its occupants.
Investigators believe that on the night of August 17, Todd was ambushed by the van's occupants after discovering his trailer was being burglarized. Tire tracks in his driveway showed that he sped up to the trailer, apparently realizing it was burglarized (his gun collection had been stolen the previous year). They believe he was shot and killed as he exited his truck outside of his trailer. They believe he was then placed back in his truck and driven to the ditch where he was dumped. His family has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identity of his killer/killers.
Suspects: Investigators believe that the motive for Todd's murder was to steal his gun collection. They believe the guns are either being hoarded by the killer(s) or are being sold and possibly taken out of the country. They suspect that the killer(s) were known to Todd and were probably locals. However, no suspects have been identified.
Investigators are trying to locate two suspicious men and a woman who were seen at a gas station near Todd's home on the night of August 17. According to one witness, she and the woman were talking at the station when one of the men came out from the store and started assaulting the woman. He also said "What are you trying to do, get us in trouble?" They and another man named "Runt" got into an orange van and drove off. The same van was seen next to Todd's trailer that same evening. They have never been identified.
The van was a mid-to-late-1970s model with a tinted porthole near the rear. It has no other side windows. An automatic weapon was seen in the vehicle. One man, called "Rob", was described as 5'8" and 180 pounds with a light growth of beard and curly, sandy brown hair. He appeared to be in his early to mid-thirties. He had a large tattoo of an eagle on his left arm. The second man, called "Runt", was 6' to 6'2" with a mustache, a thin build, and straight, brown, shoulder-length hair. The woman was described as 5'5" or 5'6" with a very thin build. She was in her mid-to-late twenties and had a light complexion and light brown or blond shoulder-length hair. She appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was wearing a gold necklace with the letters "R B". A small diamond was in the leg of the "R".
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the September 13, 1989 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. It was excluded from Amazon Prime and FilmRise episodes.
Results: Unresolved. In July 1989, a man was arrested with a .30-caliber Plainfield semiautomatic rifle. Investigators determined that it had been stolen from Todd's trailer. The man told police that Wilbur M. Anderson had loaned him the gun. He claimed that Wilbur had also sold him a Winchester 12-gauge shotgun. It also was determined to have been stolen from Todd's trailer. Wilbur had previously worked for Todd on the farm. He was arrested, charged, and convicted of dealing in stolen property. However, he was not officially connected to the murder at the time.
In 1991, inmate Jacob Wesley Scott, serving time at Desoto County Jail, told police that he had information about Todd's murder. Scott was in jail with Todd's housekeeper and Wilbur's wife, Ruthie Mae Anderson; she was awaiting trial on charges of dealing in stolen property. He claimed that she told him that she had planned the burglary of Todd's trailer with the intention of stealing money and guns. She believed that he had kept the payroll there. She, her husband, and another man went to the trailer and killed Todd when he came upon them burglarizing the place.
Investigators later located the orange van seen at Todd's home in a Mississippi junkyard. The junkyard owner told police that Wilbur had sold it to him. In October 1994, Ruthie, then forty-one, was arrested and charged with Todd's murder. Investigators hoped that she would confess and name the others involved, but she did not. The charges against her were dropped and she was released after Jacob recanted his testimony. Wilbur, who was serving time on an unrelated robbery conviction, was released in 1996. Ruthie is believed to now be living in Mississippi, while Wilbur is believed to be living in Alabama. Officially, the case remains unsolved.
Investigators believe that people who lived in nearby Arcadia may have information on the case. Most of his farm workers came from there. Several of the items stolen from his trailer (guns, his VCR, and camera equipment) were later recovered in the city. The Andersons were also living there at the time of the murder.
Sadly, Todd's mother Mary Alice passed away on September 24, 2019, at the age of eighty-two.
- Tomato farm manager is murdered - August 20, 1987
- Collector’s guns might yield clues - August 21, 1987
- Burglars blamed in slaying of tomato farm manager - September 12, 1987
- Murder of tomato farm manager remains unsolved - September 12, 1987
- Myakka murder unsolved - November 1, 1987
- Myakka killing has deputies stymied - December 2, 1987
- County begins new year with 4 unsolved murders - January 4, 1988
- Slick shows put fugitives in the spotlight - April 2, 1989
- Man linked to victim's stolen guns is released - July 15, 1989
- Woman jailed in old killing - October 20, 1994
- Mississippi woman indicted in tomato farmer’s death - November 4, 1994
- Slaying suspect - January 14, 1995
- Guns may tie thieves to death - June 8, 1995
- You can help catch a murderer - September 21, 1995
- Investigator, mother seek clues in 1987 murder (Page 1) (Page 2) - May 11, 1998
- Unsolved murders not forgotten - August 26, 2002
- Unsolved cases haunt families, police - September 1, 2002
- 25 years after Todd McAfee slaying, hope lingers - August 18, 2012
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Todd McAfee (includes articles)
- Todd McAfee on Manatee County Crime Stoppers
- Obituary for Mary Alice McAfee