The way the family tells it is that while they were distracted in the market, Steiner grabbed the boy’s hand and led him away from them. The parents freaked out, as parents do when a child is missing, and frantically called and looked for him. When the mother saw Steiner and the boy near a stairwell and screamed he let go of Steiner’s hand and ran to his mom while Steiner fled out of sight. A short time later a couple of bicycle cops spotted Steiner leaving a public bathroom and they stopped him.
The family is trying to keep as much of their private life to themselves and keep the boy’s name off of the Internet, and released a statement yesterday:
We, the parents of the little boy kidnapped at Pike Place Market on April 6th, have been repeatedly requested by the press to give an interview. We are truly grateful that the community of Seattle rejoices with us because we got our son back and finds comfort in the fact that the defendant is in custody, however, this situation is still extremely emotional for us so doing a live interview would be too difficult at this time. Also, we are trying to limit the use of our names so our son does not have to relive this every time his name is searched on the Internet as he grows up. In lieu of an interview, we share this with you in hopes of reminding parents of how quickly this can happen, to teach their children about safety and of the risks to any family in this situation.
We felt it was important for us to travel to Seattle to attend today’s arraignment on behalf of our children and the children of Seattle. Of particular importance was the possibility that defense counsel might request a reduction in bail. We fear there will be a great risk to this community whenever he is released from custody.
We are extremely grateful to have our son with us and thank God that we were able to get him back so quickly. However, getting him back did not end this terrifying ordeal. We relive that frightening time when our son was taken every day and will forever live in horror of what might have happened if 15 more seconds had passed and the defendant was able to get our little boy out of sight. Our older children, at just 6 and 8, have become fearful and protective of their brother. Our formerly cheerful 5 year old son is now having nightmares, has not returned to school, fears people sneaking up on him, and cannot bring himself to be in the presence of any older man unknown to him because he fears “he might take me away.” As heartbreaking as that is, we’re working through these issues with the appropriate professionals and have faith that our son will recover.
We will do everything we can to keep another family from living the nightmare that we are living. We’re encouraged by the stories we hear and read of other parents who have taken this opportunity to talk to their children about safety. Perhaps some good can come of this experience in the protection of other children.
We again extend our thanks to the Seattle Police Department, the King County Prosecutors Office, the bystanders and employees who came forward and assisted us, and the people of Seattle who have been supportive. We also thank the Seattle media for respecting our requests for privacy at this time.
The only thing in Steiner’s criminal history is a guilty plea from attempting to elude a police vehicle and court documents show that he was commited for a short time to the Western State Hospital afterward. Prosectutors in this case say that he may be sent to Western for a psychiatric evaluation in order to see if he’s competent to face the kidnapping charge he is being held on. He’s currently in jail on a $250,000 bond.