A Seminole County sheriff's helicopter is searching the northern part of the county on behalf of Volusia County in an effort to find the bodies of a mother and her two children who have been missing since Tuesday.

Volusia County deputies are also gathered at a landfill off Osceola Road, in the Geneva area.

Yessenia Suarez and her two children, 8-year-old Michael and 9-year-old Thalia Otto, were last seen Tuesday evening. Volusia County deputies said Thursday that the three were likely dead.

Suarez's husband, Luis Toledo, was named a person of interest in the case. Toledo, who is not the father of the two children, was denied bond Friday afternoon for domestic battery charges after allegedly beating Suarez at work.

This is a developing story. Check back and refresh this article for the latest updates.

Search focused near Suarez's workplace

Luis Toledo was only in court for a few minutes before he was told he would be held in jail without bond.

Investigators would not immediately say what Toledo has told them that makes them believe Suarez and her children are dead.

In addition to the landfill in Geneva, detectives searched in a field in Sanford on Thursday, and at a dumpster at the Seminole Towne Center on Friday.

The search has stayed in close proximity to Suarez's workplace at American Canine Detection services, in Lake Mary, where detectives said Toledo attacked her on Tuesday.

Before she disappeared, Suarez told detectives Toledo showed up, angry over text messages he found on her cell phone, and slapped her.

She also said she had planned on leaving Toledo, to whom she had been married for two years and 10 months.

Deputies said it was not yet clear if Suarez ever made it home that night; they found her car at a Publix in Lake Mary.

Suarez's father holding out hope

Though Volusia County investigators said Yessenia Suarez and her two children were likely dead, not everyone has given up hope.

Suarez's father, who sometimes shared a house with his daughter and son-in-law, said he's clinging to hope that his daughter and grandchildren are alive until he sees proof otherwise.

Emilio Suarez flew in Friday from Puerto Rico to be with his family in Deltona as they tried to cope with the news. He said while on board the flight, he had a vision that gave him hope.

"Maybe a half-hour, an hour later, the deputy walks in with her and the kids. That is the vision that I had," Emilio Suarez recalled. "And I keep praying and have been praying since they called me and gave me the news."

Yessenia Suarez's father spent some time outside her daughter's home Friday afternoon, talking with investigators. He said his daughter and her husband, Luis Toledo, who was arrested Wednesday, had their difficulties.

"When I was with her, they are always fighting," said Emilio Suarez.

Earlier Friday, Suarez's mother and stepfather, Felicia and Ruben Perez, declined to speak as they walked to Suarez's house with other family members and friends. The did speak briefly with a deputy at the scene.

As emotions run high, Emilio Suarez said he has found it hard to come to grips with what he's been told about his daughter and grandchildren.

"I don't know, and I don't -- I just want to think she's alive and she's going to show up shortly," he said.

Despite the fighting -- and the domestic battery charges against Toledo -- Emilio Suarez said he told his son-in-law to never lay a hand on his daughter, and Toledo told him he would never do that.

Children's classmates grieve

Grief counselors were made available Friday at Bentley Elementary School, in Sanford, for the classmates of Michael and Thalia Otto, who both attended the school.

Principal Ron Nathan sent the following letter to parents Friday:

"Dear Parents/Guardians,

The students and staff of Bentley Elementary School experienced a tragedy today. The missing Deltona mother and her two children reported by the news media to be deceased were students who attended Bentley.

The Seminole County Public School System and Bentley's Crisis Intervention team has been assisting the students, faculty and parents in coping with this tragedy. The team includes school staff and district level personnel who have been specially trained to assist with crisis situations. In conjunction with school personnel, crisis intervention team members are available to help students deal with their reactions to this event.

Please be aware that your child may experience strong feelings in response to this difficult situation. SOme students may request to talk with someone; other students may be relunctant to seek help but would benefit from assistance. We are asking you, therefore, as concerned parents, to let us know if you think your child could benefit from this support. We will continue to provide support to students and faculty as long as needed.

This is a very difficult time for all of us. We want to be sensitive to the needs of your child. Please contact Bentley's administration if you have further concerns or questions at (407) 871-9950."


Yessenia Suarez timeline