Mike Tokars, the son of Fred Tokars and slain mother, Sara Tokars, passed away in California on Friday.
AJC reports that Mike Tokars, 31, who was a young boy when he witnessed his mother’s death, developed a blood clot behind his knee earlier this year. After undergoing treatment in California, a clot “broke loose and moved to his lungs,” the outlet reports.
Mike passed away from a pulmonary embolism.
Mike, a Columbia University journalism graduate, once wrote a story for AJC about the death of his mother, although he ultimately asked for the content to be removed. He spent years trying to earn a living as a writer and musician in New York and had recently moved to California, where some family members lived, for a fresh start.
Mike never quite got over the tragedy he witnessed, one of his aunts, Krissy, said, despite the family’s best efforts to provide him with a solid upbringing after Sara Tokars’ death.
“He struggled his whole life; he was diagnosed with PTSD and depression. He was searching to find happiness through music and writing. I think Fred stole that happiness from him.”
The Murder of Sara Tokars
On November 29, 1992, Sara Tokars and her two boys, Ricky, 7, and Mike, 4, arrived at their Marietta, Georgia, home after spending Thanksgiving out of town with family. The children’s father, Fred Tokars, who was a prominent Atlanta attorney at the time, was in a hotel room in Alabama, knowing that his wife would soon be killed.
Fred Tokars had a murder-for-hire meticulously planned out, or so he thought.
He offered $25,000 to a business associate to kill Sara in their home and make it look like a burglary. The business associate, Eddie C. Lawrence, then contracted gunman Curtis Rower to complete the job.
Lawrence instructed Rower to kill Sara, “a white woman in her 40s,” according to court documents. Rower later testified that he made Sara and her two boys get back inside their white SUV once they arrived home. He then told Sara to pull over in a vacant close to the residence, where he shot her in the head before fleeing.
The two boys were left cowered in fear inside the vehicle, but physically uninjured.
Afterward, Ricky took Mike’s hand and walked through a field looking for help. They spotted a home with lights on and walked toward it. A man opened the door when the children approached and saw a “mixture of blood and some kind of white material” on top of Ricky’s head, according to court documents.
Fred Tokars, Lawrence, and Rower were later convicted in connection with Sara’s death. All three were sentenced to life in prison.
According to prosecutors, Sara was killed after she found out about her husband’s secret life involving money laundering and his affiliation with drug dealers. She threatened to leave Tokars and report his activities to police in an attempt to ensure he didn’t get custody of their children.
The boys never spoke to their father again, despite Tokars’ numerous attempts to reach them via letters he wrote in prison. The boys ended up growing up in Florida, where their aunts and grandparents helped raise them.
According to the boys’ aunt, Krissy Pennington, Mike Tokars had a perpetual sadness growing up, Marietta Daily Journal reports. He never forgot about his mother.
“Mike was just so sad. I remember he was 4 years old and I was tucking him into bed at night and I realized he had a picture of Sara underneath his pillow.”
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[Feature Photo: Ricky (L), Sara, and Mike (R) Tokars/Family Handout]