Tony Tobler Jennifer Pandos Burden of Proof
Jennifer Pandos (left) and Tony Tobler (right) pictured in Burden of Proof. Photo Credit: HBO

HBO’s new true-crime docuseries Burden of Proof follows the 1987 unsolved missing persons 15-year-old Jennifer Pandos. Many suspects who might have been involved in Jennifer’s disappearance are considered throughout the course of the show’s four episodes. One of them is her ex-boyfriend, Tony Tobler.

According to Tobler’s interview in Burden of Proof, he was 16 at the time Jennifer disappeared, which would make him about 52 years old today.

Tony Tobler and Jennifer Pandos’ Relationship

Jennifer Pandos’ mother, Margie Pandos, and father, Ron Pandos, both say in the docuseries that their daughter had an abortion after Tobler impregnated her. The abortion took place in August of 1986, six months before her disappearance. The situation strained their relationship and they broke up, but remained in contact in an on-again, off-again fashion, according to letters written back and forth between them that were read aloud in Burden of Proof.

“He had gotten her pregnant, and we had an abortion. She just came out and told me what she and Tony had decided they wanted to do about it,” Margie Pandos says in Episode 3 of the docuseries.

Ron Pandos recalls being “shocked” by the news.

“How did I react to it? Shocked. Pissed off. Wanting to know what in the world was going on with both of ’em. I did not want her to see Tony, I did not want Tony to see her,” Ron Pandos says in the docuseries.

Tobler himself is interviewed in the docuseries along with his current wife, Cori Tobler, who went to high school with both him and Jennifer Pandos.

“I know that that was something that was an embarrassment for them, like a major embarrassment for them. But I don’t think he liked our relationship before that happened,” Tobler said of the abortion.

“The community they lived in, like I said, at the time it was the premiere gated community in Williamsburg. And I lived in a trailer park. Her parents did not like that. Her dad was a very controlling person, like with the whole family,” he added.

Tony Tobler denies having anything to do with the disappearance of Jennifer Pandos. MovieMaker was not able to reach Tobler for comment.

His handwriting was tested to see if it matched the handwriting on the note that was left on Jennifer’s bed the morning that she went missing on Feb. 10, 1987. He was not ruled out as a potential writer of the note, but was also not proven to be the definitive writer, either. A DNA test of the note came back inconclusive.

Tony Tobler Denies Any Involvement in Jennifer Pandos’ Disappearance

But according to Burden of Proof, a former friend of Tobler’s named Charlie May came forward to police in recent years for the very first time saying that Tobler had confessed to him back in 1987 that he killed Jennifer Pandos and dissolved her body in a trash barrel filled with acid that he had stolen from a construction site.

Police have not arrested Tobler, there is no physical evidence of his involvement, and the validity of May’s statement has never been proven.

Tony Tobler Jennifer Pandos Burden of Proof
Tony Tobler gives Jennifer Pandos a piggyback ride in a photo pictured in Burden of Proof. Photo Credit: HBO

In a letter from Tony to Jennifer in June 1986 — eight months before her disappearance — he wrote, “As long as we work out our problems, we will stay together. Unless you cheat on me or I cheat on you. Don’t think nothin’ like that will happen though, because we love each other and you know I would kill you and whoever it was.”

By October of 1986, Tony had gotten back together with his now-wife Cori, whom he had previously dated before Jennifer. According to some of Jennifer’s friends who were interviewed in the docuseries, Jennifer’s mental health suffered as a result of her breakup with Tony.

In a letter from Jennifer to Tony from October of 1986, Jennifer wrote, “My arms have marks on them, not to mention bruises from where you threw me on the bed. I hope you’re happy. Stop throwing me around like some dumb [expletive]. Call me back and call me when you say you are. I told you I didn’t care if it was two in the morning. Just call me back when you say you are. Stop lying to me. I know you couldn’t stay away from Cori for one freaking day. Now I see why you didn’t want me to go to the mall with you. Because you had already planned to pick up Cori.”

But in an interview with filmmakers, Tony and his wife Cori both said that he and Jennifer had broken up the summer before her disappearance.

“How long do y’all think that her and I dated?” Tobler asked filmmakers in Burden of Proof. “‘Cause it wasn’t long. It wasn’t like years or nothin’.”

Tobler also said that as the years pass, he’s begun to forget about Jennifer Pandos.

“You don’t think about it. After a certain amount of time, it’s just not there,” Tobler says in the docuseries. “It’s actually something that, sadly, you just forget about it.”

When the filmmakers asked if he had ever been accused of having something to do with Jennifer Pandos’ disappearance, Tobler seemed surprised.

“Did I think that other people thought that I had something to do with it? Not until years later, talking to a police officer, that her dad, my guess was like, ‘Go talk to him.’ And my response was, ‘I think I was 16 years old. Okay? What would I have to do with it?’”

All four episodes of Burden of Proof are now available to stream on Max.

Main Image: Tony Tobler gives Jennifer Pandos a piggyback ride in a photo pictured in Burden of Proof. Photo Credit: HBO