IN a heartbreaking tragedy, little ELAINA STEINFURTH is being called the new Caylee Anthony after she disappeared and her mother ANGELA claimed she’d been abducted.
Police believe the 18-month-old toddler was killed by her mother’s boyfriend Steven King Jr., and Angela covered up the heinous crime, claiming – just like Caylee’s cold-hearted mom Casey – that a stranger had kidnapped her child.
For three months, police, family members and neighbors searched desperately for Elaina. Finally, a rotting body believed to be Elaina’s was found wrapped in a blanket inside a plastic box in the junk-strewn garage of King’s mom in Toledo, Ohio.
Now Angela, 25, and her ex-beau King, 23, are behind bars, charged with obstruction of justice, but cops say they’re also prime suspects in the toddler’s death.
“Angela followed the Casey Anthony trial very closely,” a family source told The ENQUIRER. “She was convinced that Casey got away with murder, and she figured she could do the same thing.”
Cops believe King threw Elaina against a wall while arguing with Angela at his mother’s home on June 1. The child’s nose was bleeding and she’d suffered a head injury, but Angela did nothing to help her, a police source told The ENQUIRER.
When Elaina became sleepy – a typical symptom of a head injury – the couple put her to bed, and later, they discovered she was dead, according to what Angela reportedly told a cell mate.
Police believe Angela and King then wrapped Elaina’s body in a blanket, put it into garbage bags, stuffed it inside a plastic computer box and stashed the box in the rafters of his mother’s ramshackle garage.
The next day, Elaina’s father Terry Steinfurth dropped by to pick up the tot and her sister Kylie, 4. Angela produced Kylie, but claimed Elaina was sleeping. When Terry returned later to pick up Elaina, all hell broke loose.
“Angela came out of the house screaming, ‘My baby is gone! They took my baby!’ ” neighbor Dennis Bolfa told The ENQUIRER. Bolfa also noted that, in his opinion: “She was totally faking it. She turned her so-called grief on and off like a light switch.”
Supporters held candlelight vigils and raised money to finance the search for little Elaina. But police suspected Angela was lying about the kidnapping and arrested her for obstruction of justice on June 12. King was arrested on the same charges 10 days later, and a cop says he eventually ratted on Angela, revealing the location of Elaina’s body. On Sept. 6, investigators found the box in his mother’s garage. The remains were so decomposed that – in an eerie echo of Caylee Anthony – the coroner could not determine the cause of death or even the sex of the corpse and are conducting DNA testing which has tested POSITIVE as the remains of the missing toddler.
Neighbor Avon Freeze told The ENQUIRER: “Angela showed no love to those children – not one bit”.