Transgender Missouri teen stabbed, had eyes gouged out and her body burned, police say

CABOOL, Mo. – Three people have been charged with murder after a transgender teenager was stabbed, burned and had her eyes gouged out.

Andrew Vrba, 18; Briana Calderas, 24, and Isis Schauer, 18, face charges of first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld, the Bradenton Herald reported.  A fourth person, 25-year-old James Grigsby, faces charges of abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence.

Sheriff James Sigman and prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. are not calling the murder a hate crime. According to the paper, “probable cause statements do not mention that Steinfeld was trans and  make no mention of the fact that Steinfeld was trans.”

In the probably cause statement, no motive is given.

Cabool, Mo., is about four hours southeast of Kansas City. It’s an hour and 20 minutes east of Springfield.

The three suspects are all charged with first-degree murder, abandonment of a corpse and armed criminal action.

Police said Steinfeld’s body was stabbed, burned and mutilated at a home in Cabool, Missouri, earlier this month. Officers searched the home and found human remains in a pile and a plastic bag, according to the paper.

Steinfeld had been missing for weeks, and initial news reports referred to her as a male, in part because missing-person posters distributed by the family used Steinfeld’s birth name, as did police documents.

Steinfeld’s mother, Amber Steinfeld, still refers to her child as Joey, but said the teen identified as female to family and to friends on social media. She said her child was “loving and kind-hearted.”

Steinfeld was engaged to a woman until they broke up in August, Amber Steinfeld said, and soon after began dating Calderas. She said Steinfeld and the two 18-year-old suspects were all living at Calderas’ mobile home. She said Steinfeld was upbeat before she disappeared, telling relatives that she loved them and was happy.

We broke up I am done with life bye

A post shared by Ally lee steinfeld (@allyleesteinfeld) on

Steinfeld grew up mostly in House Springs, Missouri, near St. Louis, Amber Steinfeld said. The family moved briefly to Florida, then to Texas County, an area of rugged hills in southern Missouri.

Steinfeld dropped out of high school upon turning 17, Amber Steinfeld said. At about the same time, the rest of the family moved back to House Springs, but Steinfeld stayed in Houston, Missouri, living with different friends.

In May, Steinfeld posted on Instagram that she was coming out and was “mtf,” or male-to-female. In a posting on June 13, Steinfeld referred to herself as “Trans male to female and I am mostly lesbian but pansexual.” In another that same day she wrote, “I am proud to be me I am proud to be trans I am beautiful I don’t care what people think.”

Vrba told investigators he initially tried to poison Steinfeld, then described how he stabbed Steinfeld in the living room of Calderas’ mobile home, Deputy Rowdy Douglas wrote in a probable cause statement. The female suspects said Vrba bragged to them about how he gouged Steinfeld’s eyes and stabbed Steinfeld in the genitals, Douglas wrote. The probable cause statement does not offer any motive.