Sex charge added in girl’s death |

Sex charge added in girl’s death

Bradley Foster

STATELINE – A father and son now face both murder and sexual assault charges in the death of a 9-year-old girl whose body was dumped along Highway 50 near Carson City, authorities said Wednesday.

Thomas Soria Jr., 19, who was accused last week of the March 19 killing of Krystal Steadman, is also being charged with two counts of sexually assaulting the girl, Douglas County District Attorney Scott Doyle said.

The man’s father, 39-year-old Thomas Soria Sr., also was charged Wednesday with the girl’s murder and two counts of sexual assault.

“It seems as if this was a very traumatic and terrible event (for Krystal),” said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini.

“Evidence supports the additional charges,” Pierini said, without elaborating.

Pierini said the two men may have committed other sexual assaults either in Sacramento or Nevada. He encouraged anyone with information about either suspect to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

Witnesses said Krystal was last seen playing with Soria Jr. outside the Lake Park Apartments in Stateline before she disappeared.

The son allegedly gave Krystal and two other girls rides on his father’s Chevy Blazer. He would drive slowly through the parking lot while the girls stood on the running boards, clinging to the door handles.

Krystal’s body was found the next morning, thrown down an embankment at the side of the highway about two miles from Carson City.

In addition, both men have been charged with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that took place last October.

The son is being defended by attorneys Mark Jackson and Tod Young, who said little about the 19-year-old’s defense.

“Mr. Jackson and I intend to defend our client in the courtroom and not in the media,” Young said.

After learning of Krystal’s death, the mother of a 15-year-old girl – whose father lives in the apartment building near the Sorias – came forward with allegations that the two men sexually assaulted her daughter in October.

Soria Sr. has a previous conviction in Sacramento for threatening and harassing female co-workers.

Father and son were arraigned Wednesday in the Tahoe Township Justice Court on sexual assault charges stemming from the October incident with the 15-year-old girl – the father because he allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the girl and the son because he allegedly encouraged it.

Both are being held without bail. They are scheduled to return to court April 5.

“(Thomas Soria) Jr. introduced the victim to the father as his uncle,” the sheriff said of the October assault. “Together they persuaded her that the ‘uncle’ would die if she did not have sex with him.”

The two men allegedly convinced the 15-year-old that Soria Sr. – who the son called his “Uncle Tom” – was sick with tumors that could explode if he got upset.