Missing baby Elaina Steinfurth's mother was arrested Wednesday night on one count of child endangering. The 18-month-old Ohio toddler was last seen alive on June 2 at an East Toledo home where her mother was staying with an ex-boyfriend, Steven King.
Baby Elaina's mother, 26-year-old Angela Steinfurth, also known as Angela J. Mories, is being held at the Lucas County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
King's mother Julie King owns the home where Elaina was last seen alive. King said Tuesday that her son saw Elaina at about 12:30 p.m. on June 2, when Steinfurth changed her diaper and put her down for a nap. Later that day, Elaina's father Terry Steinfurth Jr. came to the house to pick up Elaina and her 4-year-old sister in a custody exchange.
Police say Elaina's mother allowed her husband to take their 4-year-old daughter, but refused to give him Elaina. Alarmed, Elaina's father returned home to pick up his father, hoping the two of them could convince Elaina's mother to hand her over.
"At that time, the discussions were further about who was going to get the child, and the child was sleeping," said Captain Brad Weis of the Toledo Police Department. "Elaina's mother didn't want to wake her."
Terry Steinfurth Sr., Elaina's paternal grandfather, spoke Wednesday night about what occurred when he and his son arrived at the King home and tried to retrieve Elaina.
"Angela and I argued that she wasn't going to give me the baby because my son wouldn't let her have her back if she did," Steinfurth St. said. "After a short period of time, she agreed to give her to me ... I heard what I thought was the baby crying at first. I figured she woke her up. And then I realized it was Angela crying and screaming that she was not going to give me the baby because if she did, she'd never see it again."
After about fifteen minutes, Elaina's grandfather said, Elaina's mother came running out of the house and screamed, "The baby is gone!"
"I don't see how the baby could go without somebody seeing them carrying it out," Steinfurth Sr. said.
An arrest affidavit filed in the case states that Elaina's mother "did violate her duty of care, protection and support with respect to her minor child [redacted] 18 months of age."
"Steinfurth did admit to law enforcement officers that she was aware that her minor child had sustained serious physical injury and that her minor child required medical treatment ... [Elaina's mother] further admitted that she failed to ensure that her minor child received the necessary medical treatment for that said injury," the document continued.
Angela Steinfurth reportedly called her stepfather, Richard Schiewe, from jail Wednesday night after her arrest. Schiewe has made a grim assessment of the missing child's fate. "Nobody is saying if [Elaina] is alive," Schiewe said. "I told detectives last week we are not going to find her alive and that's what my gut is telling me.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for June 20.
Missing baby Elaina has blue eyes and brown hair. She's about two feet tall and weighs 21 pounds. She was last seen wearing orange shorts with flowers. If you have any information regarding her disappearance, you are urged to call the tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI. There is a $10,000 reward.