Mom gets prison time for Baby Elaina's murder

NEED TO KNOW
  • 18-month-old Elaina Steinfurth was reported missing in June
  • Her remains were found in a garage three months later
  • Elaina's mother was sentenced to 18 years to life on Tuesday
Mom gets prison time for Baby Elaina's murder

Baby Elaina case: Who's who

Baby Elaina case: Who's who

Angela Steinfurth and her ex-boyfriend, Steven King, were both sentenced to time behind bars Tuesday on charges relating to the slaying of Steinfurth's 18-month-old daughter, Elaina, earlier this year.

Prosecutors told a judge inside a Toledo, Ohio, courtroom that Elaina Steinfurth died soon after her mother threw her across a room because she wouldn't stop crying, according to HLN affiliate WTVG. King then detailed what happened after the baby hit her head as a result of being thrown.

"I tried to do CPR on her, but blood started coming out of her mouth and nose. She was hardly breathing, and she was unconscious. I panicked. I thought she was dying. I covered her mouth and nose with my hand and held it there until she stopped breathing. After Elaina died, I wrapped her body in a bag and hid her body in the garage," King said.

King pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Angela Steinfurth cried and declined to speak, according to WTVG. According to the Lucas County clerk of court, she then entered an Alford plea to murder and obstruction of justice, which means that she concedes there is sufficient evidence for a jury to convict her of a crime, but she maintains her innocence and does not admit to the acts with which she is charged. Steinfurth's Alford plea will still count as a conviction. She was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison and was fined $25,000.

Elaina Steinfurth, widely known as “Baby Elaina” since her disappearance, was reported missing from an East Toledo house -- the home of King's family -- on June 2. Angela Steinfurth initially said she last saw Elaina when she put the 18-month-old down for a nap that day.

A massive search of the surrounding neighborhood and a nearby river ensued, but for weeks there was no trace of the toddler.  

Police arrested Angela Steinfurth for child endangerment in June. But prosecutors decided to drop that charge, and Steinfurth was indicted for obstruction of justice later that month instead. In early August, King was also indicted for an obstruction of justice charge.

It was not until early September that authorities found Elaina Steinfurth's remains in a box hidden in the garage of the very house from which she disappeared. Toledo police said they had searched the garage earlier, but they were initially unable to bring cadaver dogs into the garage.

"[Steinfurth] tossed the child across the bedroom... causing the child to hit the bed then floor," the prosecutor said, according to WTVG. "At the time she did this, her co-defendant was present, and shortly thereafter they engaged in sexual intercourse."

Before handing down his sentence, Judge Gary Cook called Steinfurth's actions disturbing.

"You're selfish, and your disregard for life not only hurt baby Elaina, but hurt everyone," Cook said, according to WTVG. "It was a selfish act."

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