Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Krystal Dawn Steadman

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Elizabeth Steadman started getting concerned when her daughter did not show up by 3:00 p.m. She went outside and found Sandi Taylor and asked her if she had seen her daughter. Sandi said she had not seen Krystal for a while, but that she had been playing with T.J. when she last saw her. Elizabeth did not know who T.J. was, so she asked Sandi which apartment he lived in. The little girl told her he lived in Apartment 22. Elizabeth and Dan quickly made there way upstairs to the apartment and knocked on the door. When the door opened, they saw T.J. standing before them with a dazed look on his face. When Elizabeth asked him if he had seen Krystal, T.J. said the last time he saw her she was riding her bike down the street towards a mobile home park. Elizabeth and Dan then left to go look for her in that direction.

Lake Park Apartment complex
Lake Park Apartment complex

Back in Apartment 22, the door to the rear bedroom was still closed, so T.J. took the opportunity to let off some steam by masturbating. When he was finished he cleaned himself up and took a nap. A short time later he was awoke by another knock at the front door. When T.J. opened the door he found a very agitated Elizabeth Steadman staring at him. She demanded he let her and Dan in so they could look for Krystal. T.J. agreed to let them in, but told them not to go in the back bedroom because his dad was asleep. After a quick search of the apartment, Elizabeth and Dan left. By 4:56 p.m., Elizabeth had looked everywhere she could think of and decided it was time to get help. She phoned the Douglas County District Sheriff's Office at Stateline, Nevada and pleaded for help.

Douglas County District Sheriff's Office
Douglas County District
Sheriff's Office

Douglas County detective Ted Duzan was one of the first offices to arrive at the scene. The following text has been taken from Duzan's original police report:

"DCSO Case #00—1582T — On March 19, 2000, I was the on call investigator for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office (DCSO). On that date at approximately 6:20 p.m., I was called at my residence concerning the disappearance of a nine-year-old female, later identified as Krystal Dawn Steadman. (DOB: 08/25/90).

"Krystal Steadman was reported missing by her mother, on March 19, 2000 at 4:56 p.m. DCSO Deputies Sandy Cable and Craig Lowe responded to the Lake Park Apartments, the last place where Krystal was seen, to begin their search.

"During that investigation, information was learned that Krystal had been playing with other children in the Rabes Meadow and Lake Park Apartments area. Krystal does not live in Douglas County and did not know anyone specifically at the apartment complex. Her mother was at the complex, visiting her boyfriend. It was also learned that Krystal and other children were in the company of an adult identified as Thomas Soria Junior who resides in the Lake Park Apartment complex.

"The futile search for Krystal continued for several more hours. Her bicycle and jacket were found near building #1, at different locations. Upon arriving to the Lake Apartments at approximately 7:00 p.m., I was notified via Sheriff's radio that Deputy Lowe had contacted the 'suspect,' Thomas Soria Jr., in the listed vehicle in the rear parking lot area of the Lake Park Apartments, Building #1. Upon Deputy Lowe's contact with Soria Junior, he was patted down for weapons.

"Deputy Lowe introduced T.J. to Sergeant Tim Minister and I while he was sitting in the rear seat of his patrol car. T.J. agreed to accompany us to the Lake sub-station for a voluntary interview.  He sat down between Detective Minister and Detective Ted Duzan. Duzan turned on a tape recorder and said, 'its March 19, 2000—7:24 p.m.'"

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