LANSING, Mich. – The human remains found in the backyard of a Michigan home earlier this week have been identified as those of a mother and son who have been missing since June of last year, police said.
Danielle Steiner, 34, and her 5-year-old son, Aubrey Hall, had not been seen since Steiner took Aubrey out of school in early June 2018 and disappeared, according to court records.
Their bodies were discovered at a vacant house on Loa Street in south Lansing on Monday.
Their deaths are being treated as a homicide investigation. No arrests have been made, police said Friday.
Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski said the case is “complex” and stressed how limited the information he could share is.
Crime scene investigators dug up the backyard after a clean-up crew at the house told police Monday they had discovered what appeared to be human bones in the yard.
On Tuesday, an autopsy indicated the cause of death was not conclusive, Yankowski said. Additional testing was done Wednesday and confirmed the victims were Steiner and Aubrey, but the cause and time of death have not been determined.
Police seek help from anyone who had contact with Steiner and Aubrey in the months leading up to their disappearance.
Missing persons investigation
Before Aubrey and Steiner's bodies were found Monday, there was no indication that foul play was involved in their disappearance, Yankowski said. Their case was solely treated as a missing persons investigation.
A family friend reported the mother and son missing Aug. 1, 2018. No one had heard from either since June 17, 2018, however, Yankowski said.
Police followed up on several leads and reported sightings, but none turned out to be valid, Yankowski said. In recent days, police have been pursuing leads in Michigan and other states.
At various times, Steiner and Aubrey had lived on the street where their bodies were found, Yankowski said.
Father granted custody
Aubrey's father, Anthony Hall, was granted full custody of Aubrey after Steiner failed to attend a custody hearing in June 2018, according to court records. Steiner was given supervised parenting time.
During the custody hearings, Hall claimed Steiner was using drugs, according to court records.
He said he and Aubrey watched Steiner dig up the living room and bathroom floors with a knife, talking about all the money she was finding in the floor, according to court records.
He also said Steiner was in a vehicle crash in February 2018 after she saw worms coming out of her skin and ran into another car.
Steiner also had "threatened to kill herself, and to kill her family," Hall told court officials.
When Child Protective Services interviewed Steiner after Hall reported the incidents, Steiner denied using drugs. She told investigators she had a bad reaction to marijuana the night she was digging up the floor, according to court records.
A Child Protective Services investigator said Steiner had moved to a neighbor's home just before he spoke to her June 14 because she could not afford rent, according to court records. Shortly after, she moved out of that house. When the investigator tried to contact her again, he could not find her.
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This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Human remains belong to mother and child missing since June 2018, police say