Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:24:25 GMT
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Sunday, April 20 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-04-20 21:02:28 GMT
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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Toledo police have confirmed that the body found in an east Toledo garage last week belongs to toddler Elaina Steinfurth. Her mother and father were notified by the department first.
Elaina's father, Terry Steinfurth Jr., said taking the call from detectives was difficult.
"That wasn't really easy. That was the hardest part yet, was having to explain that to my 4-year-old, and you might as well say my 7-year-old. I mean, it's hard," said Steinfurth Jr.
Elaina had been missing since June 2, 2013.
On Thursday, Toledo police searched the area near the home of Steven King on Federal Street in east Toledo. Police still will not say what led them back to search the garage, but whatever it was, netted them huge results in the case; police removed a box containing "immature skeletal remains." However, because the remains were so immature, the Lucas County Coroner's Office said it was not possible to determine the gender without DNA testing. It has now been confirmed that the remains belong to baby Elaina.
While the investigation continues and the coroner works to find a cause of death, Elaina's mother, Angela, and her former boyfriend, King, remain behind bars on obstruction of justice charges. More charges could be filed against both as more results are determined.
Family members say they prayed for Elaina's safe return and now that their hopes have been crushed, they anxiously wait for justice.
"I'm hoping they do succeed, and there are no loopholes. I mean, I don't want anybody to get away from this without paying their debt to Elaina," said Steinfurth Jr.
King had his final pretrial hearing Thursday. His trial is set for Sept. 16.
Steinfurth appeared in court for a pretrial hearing Wednesday, but it was postponed again. Her trial date still has not been scheduled.
Family members gathered Tuesday to give support to one another. Funeral arrangements are still pending, but a vigil will be held Tuesday night on Federal Street in honor of baby Elaina.
"The fight to bring her home is over, but the fight for justice is just beginning. I mean, I want to see the people responsible - all of the people responsible - get the justice that they deserve," said Elaina's father.
The entire family says the last three months have been hell for them, being tormented by not knowing where little Elaina was. Police say their hearts have been torn by this case, too.
"From now on, it's a matter of making sure that there's justice for baby Elaina, and making sure that those people that are responsible pay the full price. That's our commitment as a police department and to the family," said Toledo Police Sgt. Joe Heffernan.
Stay with Toledo News Now for continued coverage on this breaking news story. We will bring you more details as soon as we have them.
Toddler Elaina Steinfurth was missing for months before her remains were found in an east Toledo garage. Two people are charged in the case, as the rest of the family and community waits for justice.More >>
Toddler Elaina Steinfurth was missing for months before her remains were found in an east Toledo garage. Two people are charged in the case, as the rest of the family - and community - waits for justice.More >>
730 North Summit Street
Toledo, OH 43604