Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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Toledo Fire Department searches Maumee River for 1-year-old

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A U.S. Coast Guard boat cruises slowly up the Maumee River as Toledo Fire Department divers search for a missing 18-month-old girl.

THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
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Divers from the Toledo Fire Department were continuing their search late today in the Maumee River, looking for additional clues in the case of missing Elaina Steinfurth.

The 18-month-old girl was last seen Sunday in the 700 block of Federal Street in East Toledo.

Numerous officials who were gathered on the banks of the river in East Toledo, near the Anthony Wayne Bridge, declined to comment.

Officials started searching in that area early today, and were taken to a particular area near a clearing in the brush after the girl's mother, Angela Steinfurth, found “something” and then alerted police.

She and her step-father, Richard Schiewe, said they came out the river at 9 a.m. and started to look for any clues police might have missed from their search of the area Wednesday.

At about 10:20 a.m., police asked for additional assistance saying evidence needed to be bagged.

At least two brown paper bags with evidence inside were taken from the scene.

Mrs. Steinfurth and Mr. Schiewe said they were prompted to search after getting a tip Wednesday evening that a fisherman at the marina snagged a heavy duffel bag. The two went out and said they talked to every fisherman, but none reported finding anything.

Two psychics who were consulted today – one by a family member and the other by a neighbor – reportedly both told police that the girl was in a Jerusalem Township field crying, “Mommy,” Mrs. Steinfurth said.

Oregon police Chief Mike Navarre said a detective and a sergeant went to the field and did a search with the department's canine, but nothing was found to indicate that the young girl was, or ever had, been there.

Mrs. Steinfurth said her mother's intuition tells her Elaina is still alive.

“I don't want to bury my 1 ½ year old daughter,” she said. “I feel my daughter is alive. I don't know where, but I feel she is alive.”

Mrs. Steinfurth said her daughter does not speak much, which might make it difficult for the girl to ask for help.

Elaina easily asks for her mom and dad, but otherwise mostly communicates with hand signals.

“When she comes home, I'm buying them a leash and they're not going anywhere,” Mrs. Steinfurth said.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

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