Baby Elaina vanished from her Toledo, Ohio, home on June 2. Following an extensive search, the 18-month-old child’s remains were discovered inside a garage. Elaina’s mother Angela Steinfurth and her former boyfriend Steven King II were both charged in her death. On December 3, Steinfurth and King were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
The story of Elaina’s disappearance gained national attention. In June, the toddler was spending time with her mother during a scheduled visit. When T.J. Steinfurth arrived to pick up his daughter, he was informed that she was missing. Angela claimed the child simply vanished from her bed during a nap.
Family, friends, police, and neighbors, launched a massive search that lasted three months. Despite Angela’s claims about her daughter being kidnapped, she and her former boyfriend were under close scrutiny,
Throughout the investigation, Angela told several different stories about Baby Elaina’s disappearance. As she refused to cooperate with the investigation, Angela was eventually arrested for obstruction of justice. Within weeks, her former boyfriend was arrested on the same charge.
On September 5, authorities returned the property where the toddler was last seen alive. Police eventually recovered a box of human remains from the garage. As reported by the Toledo Blade, DNA testing confirmed the remains belonged to the missing toddler. An autopsy revealed Baby Elaina died of “non-accidental trauma,” which included five fractured bones around her arms and legs.
In a statement to the court, King said when he woke up on the morning on June 2, he found the toddler injured. He said he was also concerned as she was struggling to breathe and he “thought she was dying.” King admitted that he panicked and “covered her mouth and nose… until she stopped breathing.” King said when Elaina was dead, he “wrapped her body in a bag and hid it in the garage.”
Monroe News reports that Angela Steinfurth declined to make a statement during her sentencing. However, prosecutors said she admitted throwing the toddler across the room when she would not stop crying. She and King then proceeded to have sex and fell asleep.
Assistant Prosecutor Ian English said King killed baby Elaina and hid her body to avoid prosecution for her injuries.
Angela Steinfurth entered an Alford plea, which is similar to a guilty plea. Unlike a guilty plea, an Alford plea does not include an admission of committing a crime. Rather, it is an admission that the evidence will likely lead to a conviction. She was convicted of murder and obstruction of justice. Angela was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years.
Steven King II plead guilty to aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Although the Ohio mother and her ex were sentenced to life in prison, the community is outraged. Prosecutors said without the plea, they may have never known what really happened to baby Elaina.