Details of Disappearance
Steven was last seen at a supermarket in East Meadow, Long Island, New York on October 31, 1955. The establishment was a block and a half from his home; he had gone there with his mother and seven-month-old sister.
Steven's mother left him and his sister, who was in a carriage, outside the supermarket for about ten minutes while she shopped for bread. When she came out, both children were gone. Steven's sister was recovered still inside her carriage a few blocks away, but her brother has never been heard from again.
In late November 1955, a student at Queens College in New York City wrote three letters demanding money from Steven's parents in exchange for the toddler's safe return. Each letter asked for a larger amount: first $3,000, then $10,000, then $14,000. Steven's parents attempted to comply, but the student turned out to be an opportunist who had nothing to do with Steven's presumed abduction.
It was suggested that Steven might be the "Boy in the Box" or "America's Unknown Child", a small boy who was found dead inside a cardboard box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1957. They both were blond and blue-eyed and both had the same scars, but the unidentified boy did not have a healed arm fracture as Steven had and Steven's footprints, taken when he was a baby, did not match the Philadelphia child.
In 2003, the police compared the unidentified boy's DNA with DNA from Steven's sister to make sure, and conclusively proved that Steven was not the Boy in the Box. The child remains unidentified in spite of a major investigative effort that continues today.
Steven is originally from Iowa; his father was in the Air Force in 1955 and the family was stationed on Long Island. His father left the Air Force a few months after Steven's abduction and the family returned to Iowa. His parents divorced in 1957 and both of them later remarried. His father still lives in Iowa and had two sons by his second marriage; his mother now lives in Missouri.
The case received additional media attention in 2009 when a Michigan man claimed he was Steven, but DNA tests ruled out this possibility. There is very little evidence available to indicate Steven's fate and his case remains unsolved.