Hair found in Maumee River sent for DNA analysis - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Hair found in Maumee River sent for DNA analysis

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It has been nearly a month since a Toledo toddler went missing. There was no active search for little Elaina Steinfurth on Monday, despite the fact that potential evidence has surfaced.

Family members of baby Elaina thought a dive team would be searching Monday, after a fisherman snagged his line on a clump of hair over the weekend. But there has been no police activity at the location under the Anthony Wayne Bridge.

"What kind of hair is it? Is it synthetic? Animal hair? Human hair? If it is human hair, is it Elaina's hair? We don't know yet," says Toledo Police Sergeant Joe Heffernan.

Officers collected the potential forensic evidence for further analysis, but it could take weeks to get the results of DNA analysis.

"We are making progress. I know it's slow," says Heffernan, "but when we have a case of this nature, sometimes it takes a little bit more time."

The area of the Maumee River near the Anthony Wayne Bridge has been searched before, and police say the clump of hair did not meet the criteria to send out a dive team.

"Not in everybody's best interest going in to dive the river if it turns out it was some muskrat hair or hair from a deer or somebody's wig," says Heffernan.

The sergeant says the river would only be searched again after the hair is confirmed to be human.

"What we would like is for everybody to just keep their eyes open," he says. "Baby Elaina is out there somewhere. Whether she is alive or not, we don't know."

13abc reached out to the Steinfurth family Monday for comment, but they were unavailable to meet.

There will be a vigil held Wednesday and Saturday at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and will be held at the family's "command center" on Leonard and Federal.

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