Todd Burkhart (28) and his pregnant partner Kyla Hayton (20) disappeared on November 16, 2019 from Columbus, Ohio. They dropped Kyla’s daughter off to a carer and left in their vehicle, a 2003 silver Toyota Corolla. Kyla was pregnant with a baby boy.
Todd and Kyla’s relationship was volatile, with many social media posts documenting their issues:
Todd’s relationship with Law Enforcement was also posted on his social media accounts. He had a criminal record and was known to police. He was convicted of burglary and attempted arson in 2011.
Around November 20, the Toyota Corolla was found abandoned. The car was found with broken windows and had been left in the spot it was found for days beforehand.
No one was inside, and several items of clothing were outside the car on the ground.
Officers also found three silver 9mm shell casings on the ground behind the car, but police noted they appeared old with “no evidence to suggest foul play” around the car.
As the investigation into their disappearance continued, it emerged that Todd and Kyla may have been traveling to purchase an AR-15 rifle. Todd was also to deliver an unknown package. Due to his criminal record, Todd was not legally allowed to own a gun. His family worried that he was being threatened and wanted to purchase one for protection. They determined that the man Todd was going to purchase the gun from was a convicted felon that he had met in prison.
Online rumors about what happened to the couple were rife:
On Friday November 22, Dayton Homicide police were called to an abandoned house. A body was found in a house at the corner of Wildwood Avenue and West Stewart Street. The house was nearby to where their Toyota Corolla was found abandoned days earlier.
The body was identified as Todd Burkhart. Todd had been shot multiple times. There was no sign of Kyla at the scene.
Police combed through social media records to try to establish who Todd and Kyla had gone to meet. They came across Larry Rogers, who had the Facebook name ‘Backwoods on Wildwood’ (his profile has since been deleted). Wildwood Avenue was where Todd’s body was found.
Larry was arrested and is currently in Montgomery County Jail on weapons charges.
Police searched abandoned houses near Wildwood for any sign of Kyla. Had someone taken her to steal her baby? Was she sex trafficked? Her father pleaded for help to find her, “She is a recovering addict and needs the opiate addiction medication daily. Without it she would detox and possibly hurt herself and lose her baby,” Brent Hayton of Ashland said Friday.
Police searched all abandoned houses in the area. They took cadaver dogs to the area, and on Monday November 25, they found Kyla’s body. It was her birthday. Kyla had also died from multiple gunshot wounds. Her baby was not killed in the shooting but he died because his mother passed away.
Kyla’s remains were found in a house right near where Todd was discovered. Both houses were very close to Larry’s residence. Kyla had remained undiscovered for so long because there was power to the house and police assumed people were living there, and that it wasn’t abandoned.
Larry Rogers has not yet been charged with the murders of Todd and Kyla. The media are reporting that the Montgomery County Prosecutor may seek the death penalty in this case. “The investigation is in the early stages and so once the detectives finish their investigation, we’ll review it with them to see about what the charges should be, and whether any charges will also be in line and appropriate because she was pregnant,” said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr.
This case is ongoing. Please check back for updates.