Tahoe murder victim’s throat slashed
STATELINE, Nev. (AP) – Preliminary autopsy results confirm that a 9-year-old Lake Tahoe girl died when her throat was slashed, Douglas County authorities said Wednesday.
Officials declined to release additional details about the death of Krystal Steadman, whose nude body was found Monday about 25 miles from an apartment parking lot where she was playing when she disappeared Sunday.
Thomas Robert Soria Jr., 19, a part-time worker for a children’s club at the apartment complex, already faces charges of kidnapping and murder. Additional charges could be filed if the autopsy shows the victim was sexually assaulted.
Sheriff Ron Pierini issued a statement saying the autopsy isn’t completed and results won’t be available for several days. He also said investigators are still looking for the victim’s clothing, and evidence from Soria’s vehicle is still being analyzed. The evidence includes human blood.
District Attorney Scott Doyle said the autopsy, while incomplete, confirms that a deep neck wound was the cause of death. Doyle also said no decision has been made on more charges.
”That aspect of the case is still under investigation,” Doyle said. ”Additional charges depend on the outcome of additional investigation.” He hopes to decide on any amendments to the complaint against Soria, who could face the death penalty, by early next week.
Soria, arrested a few hours after the victim’s body was found, faces an April 25 preliminary hearing. He’s being held without bail.
Authorities said Steadman had been seen standing on the running board of Soria’s vehicle outside an apartment where her mother, from nearby South Lake Tahoe, Calif., was visiting a friend.
Family members said the girl had been checking in regularly with her mother, who had told her to stay out only a few more minutes. When her daughter didn’t return, the mother looked for her – even going to Soria’s apartment. According to police reports, Soria told her he didn’t know where the girl was.
A witness told investigators she saw a man in a vehicle similar to Soria’s tossing what looked like a pillow case over the edge of the highway near Carson City, where the girl’s body was found.
Soria was hired seven months ago to work at a satellite branch of the Lake Tahoe Boys and Girls Club. He passed a background check and had no previous criminal record other than a bad check charge.