Elaina Steinfurth (right) was last seen on June 2nd. Angela Steinfurth, Elaina’s mother, and Steven King, her boyfriend, were both arrested over the summer on obstruction of justice charges. They were indicted by a grand jury on murder charges, Monday. The well-publicized case is now over without a trial.
Elaina’s body was discovered on September 5th. Two months later, a coroner concluded that she had been murdered. Elaina suffered “non-accidental trauma”. Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, the Lucas County coroner, ruled Elaina’s death a homicide and the autopsy showed the toddler suffered fractures around her arm and leg joints. There were “severe acute fractures” to five different bones. Dr. Barnett said the remains were skeletal, so it could not be determined if there was tissue or organ damage. Elaina had been reported missing in June when T.J. Steinfurth, her father, went to pick up his two daughters from his estranged wife, Angela. The 18-month-old girl’s remains were discovered in Steven King’s garage.
The girls and Angela Steinfurth (left) had stayed overnight at King’s home. Angela Steinfurth initially told T.J. Steinfurth that Elaina was sleeping. Then, when he returned later, she said she couldn’t find her. Despite previously searching King’s garage, the officers didn’t find the remains until they returned on a tip and found a computer box tucked in the rafters with Elaina’s remains inside.
Steinfurth and King both appeared in a Toledo, Ohio courtroom on Tuesday to enter their pleas. Angela Steinfurth entered a plea of no contest (also known as an Alford plea) to murder and obstruction of justice charges under which she maintains her innocence but acknowledges prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her. She was then sentenced to 18 years to life in prison, according to the terms of the plea deal. Steven King (below right), pled guilty to aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and abuse of a corpse. King was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Assistant County Prosecutor Ian English said there was enough evidence to support that Steinfurth became fed up with Elaina’s crying on the evening of June 1st and threw her across the room (maybe several times). The next morning, Steinfurth seemed alarmed to find injuries on Elaina and was afraid she would be taken from her. King said he tried to resuscitate Elaina after finding her barely breathing, but blood came out of her mouth.
“I panicked. I thought she was dying. I covered her mouth and nose with my hand and held it there until she stopped breathing,” he told the judge, “After Elaina died, I wrapped her body in a bag and hid the body in the garage.”
“I knew what I did was wrong,” King said.
Angela Steinfurth did not give a statement at the hearing. The presiding judge, Ruth Ann Franks, seemed unmoved by King’s confession. She reportedly asked prosecutors if they were “satisfied with this sanitized version?”
“…I kept my promise to my baby girl. Due to the selfish and senseless acts of Steven King and Elaina’s mother Angela, the loss of Elaina has left my entire family with a gaping hole in their hearts,” said Elaina’s father T.J. Steinfurth.