Terry Steinfurth, center, holds his daughter, Kylee Steinfurth, 4, as he prays for missing daughter Elaina Steinfurth, 1, on Leonard Street. With them Tuesday were, from left, Layla Hungerford, 6; Becky Navaugh, Layla’s mom and Terry’s girlfriend, and Mary Schiewe, Elaina’s aunt.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
East Toledo is trying to comfort stunned members of Elaina Steinfurth’s family while a lack of clues into the little girl’s disappearance has forced them to wait for answers.
Five hours before a planned vigil on Tuesday night, one of the family’s friends, Leon Oldham of Toledo, led a short prayer near Federal and Leonard streets. About 50 people stood nearby, including Elaina’s father, Terry Steinfurth.
“I just asked for Elaina’s safety and for her to be returned to the family safely and that she’s blessed and content and protected by the Lord,” Mr. Oldham said.
Elaina’s sister, Kylee, 4, was there too.
“She’s been asking,” Mr. Steinfurth said. “She doesn’t know a whole lot. I’m trying to keep it as far from her as possible.”
Elaina, who is only 1 year old, was staying in the 700 block of Federal with her mother, Angela Steinfurth.
The toddler was reported missing Sunday afternoon by her father, who had gone to the residence to pick up both daughters. Only Kylee was found.
Authorities have been scouring East Toledo neighborhoods since then, searching homes and vacant buildings.
Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said Tuesday they still don’t know if the missing toddler became lost, was abducted, or had something worse happen to her. No breakthroughs were reported after another long day of searching, he said.
“We are still looking for her, still as a missing person,” Sergeant Heffernan said.
The FBI became a part of the investigation during its early stages. Officials from the bureau were seen searching neighborhood garbage cans on Tuesday in addition to doing multiple interviews.
“I just hope she’s safe wherever she is,” Mr. Steinfurth said. He also said he’d heard from the FBI there were no new developments.
Contact Mike Sigov at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.