It wasn’t what Elaina Steinfurth’s family members wanted to hear, but it’s what they expected.
The immature skeletal remains found in a computer box and tucked into a corner of an East Toledo garage belong to the once-missing toddler, police said Tuesday.
“We fought for a long, hard time to find her, and we did. We found her. Not the way we wanted to,” said the girl’s grandfather Terry Steinfurth, Sr., who sat in front of a growing memorial of stuffed animals, balloons, and candles on the porch of a vacant Leonard Street home. “Now we have a harder, longer fight to get her justice.”
The remains were found Thursday at 704 Federal St. in a box, on a shelf, in the rafters of a detached garage. Elaina was 18 months old when she was last seen June 2 in the same Federal Street home.
A DNA sample was sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation last week and the results — which typically take 23 days to turn around — were released to Toledo police late Monday.
It’s unclear how the toddler died. Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said she is waiting on toxicology tests and an anthropological examination before ruling on the cause and manner of death.
“I’m hoping they can find out what did happen,” Mr. Steinfurth said. “And why did it happen. I don’t want it to end up as a case where they don’t know what happened. But I probably won’t ever get all those answers.”
Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division for the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office, could not say when the case might be presented to a grand jury for charges relating to the girl’s death.
“When we have received the final report from the coroner’s office and BCI, we will be able to consider what, if any, charges will be filed at that time,” Mr. Lingo said.
Terry Steinfurth, Sr., Elaina Steinfurth's grandfather, sits outside the Federal Street home where she went missing and where her remains were found three months later in a detached garage after numerous searches by police and family.
Toledo police spokesman Joe Heffernan said the investigation is ongoing and he did not anticipate more charges would be filed Tuesday against the toddler’s mother, Angela Steinfurth, 25, or Mrs. Steinfurth’s former boyfriend, Steven King II, 23. They are being held in the Lucas County jail on charges of obstructing justice.
No other charges have been filed, nor suspects named, in the case.
“We want to make sure that, first and foremost, that when we do go to court on this case that the case is very solid,” Sergeant Heffernan said. “This is all going to happen in little bits and pieces.”
Police will not say what specifically sent them back to Federal Street last week other than to say they received a tip about the remains, the sergeant said.
The toddler’s family believes Mr. King, who spent several hours with investigators Thursday, pointed police to the garage. The garage, house, and surrounding neighborhood were searched numerous times since Elaina was reported missing.
“Were those remains always there or not? That’s still to be determined,” Sergeant Heffernan said. “Some people say they were and some people say they weren’t. We don’t know.”
Mr. Steinfurth said his family planned to meet Tuesday by themselves. “We’re gonna remember her through pictures and we’re still gonna talk about her,” he said. “We’re not gonna let her go.”
Elaina’s father, Terry “TJ” Steinfurth, Jr., 25, memorialized his daughter in an original rap song, “Everlasting Love,” which is posted online under his stage name, “Quarter.”
“I swear, baby girl, you’ve touched the hearts of so many. Elaina, your name is known all across the city. You got a lot of people missing you, but especially Sissy. Every day Kylee asks, ‘Daddy, where is my sissy?’ ”
Kylee is Elaina’s 4-year-old sister.
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