Baby Elaina didn’t stop crying and that is why her frustrated mother grabbed baby Elaina by a limb and threw her across the bedroom where she hit the wall, bed, and floor. “The next morning, both panicking over the extent of her injuries, Steven W. King smothered Elaina with his hand until she stopped breathing, then hid her body in the garage,” reported the Toledo Free Express on Dec. 4, 2013.
The mystery of 18-month-old baby Elaina Steinfurth has finally been solved and her Ohio mom and ex-boyfirend have been found guilty in baby Elaina’s death.
Baby Elaina’s 26-year-old mom, Angela Steinfurth, was sentenced on Tuesday to 18 years to life: 15 years to life for murder and three years for obstruction of justice. Angela Steinfurth entered an Alford plea, acknowledging there was enough evidence to convict her of aggravated murder and obstruction of justice. She must serve at least 18 years.
The Ohio mom’s 24-year-old ex-boyfriend was sentenced to 25 years to life: 20 years to life for aggravated murder, two years for obstruction of justice, two years for tampering with evidence and one year for abuse of a corpse. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served 24 years.
When asked why the prosecutor agreed to a plea deal, Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said that while investigators were able to find some of the answers to the circumstances of baby Elaina's death in baby Elaina’s remains, the details of what exactly happened to baby Elaina came out only after the Ohio mom and her ex had reached a plea deal. “There are things we would never have known if we had not made an agreement.”
Jeff Lingo, who is the chief of the criminal division for the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office, agreed with Julia Bates and commented that baby Elaina’s family members wanted closure and approved the plea deals.
According to Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor Ian English, the Ohio mom had thrown baby Elaina around the room on June 1 and that her ex was present at the time. “Elaina was discovered the next morning to have a black eye, swollen nose, bloody lump on the head and difficulty breathing. An autopsy later showed she also had five broken bones, including arms and legs. King stated in court that he found Elaina unconscious on the morning of June 2 and tried to do CPR on her, but blood started coming out of her mouth and nose.”
“I panicked,” said the Ohio mom’s ex-boyfriend. “I thought she was dying. I covered her mouth and nose with my hand and held it there until she stopped breathing.”
After baby Elaina had been silenced, the Ohio mom’s ex-boyfriend wrapped her body in a bag and hid the body in the garage where her skeletal remains were eventually found in a computer box in the rafters of the detached garage in East Toledo in Ohio.
Baby Elaina was last seen at 704 Federal St. in early June at the Federal Street home owned by the family of her Ohio mom’s ex-boyfriend. Baby Elaina’s mother, Angela Steinfurth, stayed overnight in the home the night of June 1 with her two daughters and then-boyfriend Mr. King, 23. The girls’ father, Terry Steinfurth II, 25, went to Federal Street at about 2 p.m. on June 2 to pick up the girls, but was only given their four-year-old daughter, Kylee. When baby Elaina’s father, who was estranged from his wife but still married to her, came to pick up baby Elaina, the Ohio mom said that “she didn’t know where the toddler was.”
On June 3, baby Elaina’s grandfather, Richard Schiewe, who is Angela Steinfurth’s stepfather, was with the police when they searched the garage at the address where baby Elaina had gone missing. On Sept. 5, acting on information from King, investigators discovered the toddler’s badly decomposed remains in a box in the rafters of the home’s detached garage. On Nov. 6, after baby Elaina’s cause of death was found to be “non-accidental trauma,” her case was declared a homicide.
During Tuesday’s court hearing, baby Elaina’s father, Angela Steinfurth’s estranged husband, Terry Steinfurth Jr., read a statement in court with his voice breaking several times.
“She was a playful little girl who was full of energy. She loved to swing and to chase her older sister Kylee around the house. She was also a very loving baby who loved to be held and cuddled.”