A young woman with deep roots on Chebeague Island was shot and killed this week in Connecticut, and her death is reverberating through the small island community.

Emily Todd came back to Chebeague Island almost every summer and during holidays to visit with her large extended family. “She is a 10th-generation Chebeague Islander,” said her father.

Emily Todd, 25, of Bethel, Connecticut, was found dead Sunday near a municipal boat ramp in Bridgeport.

Todd was born in Portland and lived on Chebeague with her parents, Stephen Todd and Jennifer Lawlor, until she was 2 years old.

But Emily Todd came back to Chebeague almost every summer and during holidays to visit with her large extended family, which still makes its home there, said her father, an island resident.

“She is a 10th-generation Chebeague Islander,” Stephen Todd, 46, said Thursday. “We talked off-and-on about her living on the island, and of course in retrospect, I wish she had.”

Emily Todd was shot once in the back of the head, according to a report by The Connecticut Post, which is based in Bridgeport.


According to Stephen Todd and Bridgeport police, Emily Todd recently had met a man through an online dating site. The relationship soured, Stephen Todd said, and the man, whom he did not identify, became threatening toward his daughter when she tried to break things off, and he would not leave her alone.

On Saturday, the day before she was killed, his daughter had obtained a new cellphone number as a way of avoiding the man, he said.

A point of contention may have been transportation issues, Todd said.

The man Emily Todd was dating told her his car had broken down. She gave him money to get it fixed in an attempt to get the man to leave her alone, her father said.

“She, at some point, gave him $500 to fix his transmission and leave,” Todd said. “What we don’t know at this point, the night this happened, how they got in contact with each other, or how they met that night. There’s no record of him contacting her.”



Bridgeport Police Capt. Brian Fitzgerald said investigators believe it was only the two of them at the boat launch that night, and that after the man shot Todd, he left in her car and dumped it elsewhere. Police have recovered the vehicle, Stephen Todd said, but he did not say where.

“We believe she met the person who killed her online,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re still not exactly sure the extent of their relationship, it was very short-lived. We’re making progress.”

Although no one has been arrested, police are working feverishly to find who shot his daughter, Todd said.

“(Bridgeport police) are confident this will get resolved,” he said. “I do know they’re delegating a lot of resources to it.”

Emily Todd grew up mostly with her mother in Bethel, Conn., about a 40-minute drive from where she was killed, Stephen Todd said.

But she always had a strong connection to the beach and the ocean, which was her favorite place to be, her father said. She even kept jars of sand from different beaches from around the islands, as a sort of shrine to her favorite places, he said.


The death is the second tragedy for Chebeague in recent months.

Kristin Rohrbach Westra, 47, a teacher at the Chebeague Island School and another touchstone for the families on the island, took her own life Oct. 1.


According to The Connecticut Post, Emily Todd graduated from Bethel High School in 2011. Stephen Todd said his daughter attended Western Connecticut State University before transferring to Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Todd said from when she was in high school, his daughter knew she wanted to pursue art therapy, and Lesley had a program that matched her interests.

“She just knew, remarkably, that’s what she wanted to do,” he said. She graduated from Lesley in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in expressive arts therapy.


Before she died, Emily Todd was working in a memory care unit at a Danbury, Connecticut, assisted-living facility and managed activities for people in long-term care doing arts and crafts, designing activities and interacting with the residents, The Connecticut Post reported.

“A very particular type of person works on this unit and Emily was that,” Linda McCue, a director at the center who hired Todd in March, told The Connecticut Post. “She had a very kind soul, passionate, very quiet and she was just lovely with a lot of our residents.”

Todd said his daughter was also a deeply spiritual person, but was not particularly religious, and loved nature.

A spiritual ceremony to remember Emily Todd will be held next Thursday at 4:45 p.m. at the Chebeague Island United Methodist Church.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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Correction: This story was updated at 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, to correct Kristin Westra’s first name.

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