Young man missing for weeks brutally murdered in Texas county
Three arrests have been made and the sheriff says there are more to come in a brutal murder in Texas County. 24 year old Briana Calderas, and 18 year olds Isis Schauer and Andrew Vrba are all accused in the brutal killing of 17 year old Joseph Steinfeld. His remains were found at the home of one of the suspects, Briana Calderas.
Family and friends last heard from Joseph Steinfeld on September 1st. They began the search for him on their own, with missing person posters online and in Texas County. It brought them to the area of the murder scene just three days ago.
Neighbor Jim Brown says, "The family of the boy that's missing stopped by and kind of filled me in on what's going on, wanted to know if I saw him anywhere."
Wednesday, investigators arrived at Calderas' home and found burned human remains in a burn pile outside and in a bag inside a chicken coop. "It was brutal," says Texas County Sheriff James Sigman.
They're still looking for more evidence and suspects.
Brown says, "I never saw nobody. Usually the dogs will raise cane if somebody's even walking down the road, but they never even let on that anything was going on."
The sheriff believes Joey, as his family called him, died sometime before his 18th birthday on September 9th. His mother says he was a lovable child who avoided conflict, and even at 17, still liked to cuddle with his mom. The family used to live in Licking, but moved to the St. Louis area. They say Joey returned to Texas County and was living in Houston. His parents say he had only known the suspects a short time.
"A couple days ago, they obtained some information which led us to this address," says Sigman. He says it was information from the suspects in custody. Investigators say Andrew Vrba admitted to first trying to poison Steinfeld, then stabbing him in the mobile home. Both women, Calderas and Isis Schauer, eventually admitted to helping dispose of the body.
"It's unreal how people can do somebody else like that," Brown says.
The motive so far is unclear. Family say Joey sometimes identified as a female on social media, but the sheriff says they do not consider this a hate crime.
"It's kind of mind boggling. If they had a reason for it or whatever, it'll all come out sooner or later. Right now, it's all questions and there's no answers," says Brown.
The sheriff says this is still very much an ongoing investigation, and they do expect more arrests. Meanwhile, they are waiting for DNA results to positively identify Steinfeld's remains.
A fundraising page has been set up to help the Steinfeld family with funeral expenses at: https://www.gofundme.com/4gxr7u8