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Published: Friday, 8/9/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Police: Missing tot’s case called homicide probe

Steven King II, 23,  of 704 Federal St., is charged with obstruction of justice. Steven King II, 23, of 704 Federal St., is charged with obstruction of justice.

Saying the disappearance of an East Toledo toddler was now considered the subject of “a homicide investigation,” an assistant Lucas County prosecutor Thursday asked a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge to keep bond for a man accused of misleading police at $250,000.

“The allegations include that the defendant lied to police in the course of what is regarded now as a homicide investigation,” Brad Smith told Judge Ruth Ann Franks. The judge agreed to continue the $250,000 bond for Steven King II, 23, of 704 Federal St., who is charged with obstructing justice in the June 2 disappearance of 19-month-old Elaina Steinfurth.

Mr. King, the boyfriend of Elaina’s mother, Angela Steinfurth, is accused of providing false information to investigators during the two months after the girl was last seen. Angela Steinfurth, 25, also is charged with obstructing justice in the case.

Mr. King’s attorney, Pete Rost, asked the court to release Mr. King from jail on a recognizance bond, possibly with electronic monitoring.

“As you can see, this is a nonviolent offense, although it is connected to the investigation that involves a missing 18-month-old child,” he said. “The defendant’s record is not extensive.”

Mr. Rost said Mr. King had been talking with investigators since the child went missing and was at home when police arrived to arrest him.

Relatives of Elaina’s father, T.J. Steinfurth, said after the hearing that this was the first time they had heard the case referred to as a homicide investigation.

“We don’t want to look at it that way, but if we have to accept it, we will. We need closure,” said Ginger Smith, a cousin of Elaina.

Terry Steinfurth, Sr., Elaina’s grandfather, said the same, adding that if the child was killed, someone is responsible and needs to talk to police.

When asked after the hearing about his reference to the homicide investigation, Mr. Miller declined to comment further. Toledo police Sgt. Tim Campbell said investigators would continue to treat Elaina’s disappearance as a missing-person case unless or until remains are discovered.

Ms. Smith asked that people “just keep praying, keep coming to our vigils, keep helping us keep our hopes up. That’s what we need right now.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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