News and Tribune

Clark County

March 8, 2013

Grieving father talks about unimaginable loss of daughter

Family thankful for community support

(Continued)

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Tara was the youngest of four siblings, who are all close in age and share a close relationship.

“It is devastating to them,” he said. 

When asked how her siblings are coping, Todd Willenborg said, “They’re not.”

But, like always, Todd Willenborg  is doing what he can to be the best father he can be. 

“I have to protect my wife and my family, and that is what I am trying to do,” he said.

He said it is difficult to see the media attention being give to Richard Hooten, the man who has confessed to taking his daughter’s life.

Todd Willenborg said Hooten is a man who slipped through the cracks of justice one too many times, and that he no longer refers to Hooten as a man, or a he, or a him, but only ‘it.’

“He is not a person, an animal, or anything.” he said. “He is just an ‘it’ to me.”

Distraught, beside himself with pain, Todd Willenborg said he offered himself to God and made a deal with the devil that his soul could be taken, but only if he could be Hooten’s personal devil for all of his eternity.

“The next day, it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Todd Willenborg said. “I guess it was God. I guess I can’t do it because if I do, I can’t go to Heaven and be with my daughter, and that is more important.”

Willenborg said he was frustrated that Hooten was provided a platform to address area media during a press conference at the Clark County Sheriff’s Department Thursday morning. 

“I got a lot of problem with it,” Todd Willenborg said. “You know, this guy gets on there and says he is sorry. Well, if you’re sorry, why do you keep calling wanting them to come interview? That is a bunch of bull. He is trying to get some kind of crazy defense or something like that. He has been through the system. He’s manipulated the system.”

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