Toledo police Monday night continued to look for a 1½-year-old girl who was missing from an East Toledo residence since the day before, and were interviewing family members who had last seen her.
Elaina Steinfurth was allegedly last seen midday Sunday at a residence in the 700 block of Federal Street where her mother, Angela Steinfurth, was staying that night, police said in a report filed about 10 p.m. Sunday.
Police responding to a call of a missing child arrived at the residence about 3 p.m. and were told that Terry Steinfurth, the girl’s father, had gone to the address about 2 p.m. to pick up his two daughters, a 4-year-old and a 1½-year-old, but was only allowed access to the 4-year-old, police said.
Police said Mr. Steinfurth then left, picked up his father to be a go-between to keep things peaceful, and returned to the residence a half-hour later, with Ms. Steinfurth finally agreeing to allow him to have Elaina.
Ms. Steinfurth, police said, then went inside for 20 to 25 minutes only to come back stating that Elaina had been sleeping in the front bedroom but was now missing. The woman’s live-in boyfriend, Steven King, Jr., had gone out of the back door, supposedly to look for the girl, police said.
Police said they later checked the residence “at least five times” and conducted door-to-door searches in the neighborhood but failed to find the girl. The incident remains under investigation, police said.
Sgt. Joe Heffernan would not say whether police suspect that the incident could involve an abduction, saying only that “[when] we have a 1½-year-old girl missing, we’re always concerned.”
Family members and friends of the child’s mother and father gathered late Monday near the Federal Street home. Mary Schiewe, 23, of Toledo, the sister of Angela Steinfurth, said she was told her sister and Mr. King had been talking extensively with police at the station.
Toledo Det. Vince Mauro, who is handling the case, was unable to be reached for comment.
Earlier in the day, about a dozen people — friends, relatives, and co-workers of Mr. Steinfurth’s — gathered at the corner of Federal and Leonard streets, a half-block from the residence. Some discussed the ongoing search for the missing girl, others distributed flyers with her pictures.
“We’ve been organizing search parties, going door-to-door, looking for any information since 4 a.m.,” Mr. Steinfurth, 25, said, getting emotional. “I am just hoping that she’s safe. I want my baby home. I am very concerned.”
Mr. Steinfurth, a baker for Panera Bread, said he and Ms. Steinfurth are separated. The girls stayed with him for the last week, except for the weekend when Ms. Steinfurth had them. He said Ms. Steinfurth used to live with Mr. King at his mother’s place at 704 Federal until she was “thrown out” a week ago and went to live at her mother’s place, where there was no room for their two daughters.
July King, 46, Mr. King’s mother, who was standing just down the street from 704 Federal, said that she let Ms. Steinfurth and her two daughters stay at her house for the night after Ms. Steinfurth called her Saturday night and said she and her daughters had nowhere to go. She said Ms. Steinfurth and Mr. King had broken up about a week ago.
“She [Ms. Steinfurth] told me that the last time she saw her [Elaina] was about 12:30 p.m. Sunday,” Ms. King said. “She last saw her when she changed her daughters’ diaper and closed the bedroom door to let her sleep.”
Ms. King said that despite what police wrote in their report, her son had not run out of the back door to search for the missing girl on his own, but did it later when others were around.
Dawn Chapman, 43, a friend of Mr. Steinfurth’s, said she and other search volunteers had handed out flyers, gone door-to-door, and searched the nearby marina on the Maumee River.
“I’m hoping she’s safe, I feel she’s safe,” Ms. Chapman said. “I feel somebody’s got her, and they are just holding on to her. It’s just in my heart.”
A woman who took a phone call at a number Mr. Steinfurth said belongs to Ms. Steinfurth’s mother refused to talk to The Blade.
Staff writer Danielle Trubow contributed to this report.
Contact Mike Sigov at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6089, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.