TPD: Human remains found may be Baby ElainaWritten by Staff Reports | | email@example.com
No official identification has been made, but officials believe the human remains recovered from an East Toledo garage could be those of 18-month-old Elaina Steinfurth, Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs said at a news conference Sept. 6.
The “immature human skeletal remains” were seized Sept. 5 from the rafters of a detached garage at the house on Federal Street where Elaina was last seen June 2.
The Lucas County coroner is performing an autopsy today, Diggs said, and will be working with the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation over the weekend to determine the sex, cause of death and identity of the remains using DNA analysis.
Officials said the garage had been searched in the past, but declined to comment on what prompted them to search the garage Sept. 5. A search warrant for the property at 704 Federal St., was executed at 3:16 p.m. Sept. 5.
A box containing the remains was discovered on a shelf in the rafters of the garage “behind quite a bit of other … boxes, trash, things of that nature,” said Capt. Brad Weis, commander of the Toledo Police Department’s strategic response bureau.
In response to a question about TPD’s handling of the case, Diggs defended his department.
“We didn’t drop the ball,” Diggs said. “The main thing that you have to remember — there are two things. No. 1, we wanted to find the body. We wanted to find that baby, which we did. No. 2, we want to bring justice for Elaina which means that we are going to cont to pursue our investigation and do the things we need to do to make sure the people responsible for this are held accountable.”
Diggs and the other officials declined to answer most questions, citing an ongoing investigation.
“We’re not going toget into all this how many times we checked here, how many times we checked that,” Diggs said. “We had a lot of deception taking place, being told to us, by a variety of sources in this community, and because of that we took the investigation where we felt we needed to take it.
“The bottom line is, we found what we believe may be Baby Elaina,” Diggs added.
Elaina’s mother, Angela Steinfurth, and Steinfurth’s ex-boyfriend, Steven W. King, are in jail, facing obstruction of justice charges related to the toddler’s disappearance. King’s trial date is set for Sept. 16. Steinfurth has a pretrial hearing set for Sept. 25.