Colorado · Newspaper clippings

Father kills 3 children, severely wounds self trying to destroy evidence

From the Nevada State Journal
Published January 24, 1932

The deaths of 3 children originally believed to have burned to death in a house fire were revealed to have severe injuries, 2 with broken skulls and a third with a fractured neck. The children were Marjorie (10), Michael Jr. (9), and Donald (2); the toddler was the victim of the neck fracture. It was also determined all 3 had smoke in their lungs and, despite their critical injuries, had died of smoke inhalation.

The children’s mother had died 18 months earlier and Steffan had taken out $1,000 life insurance policies on each child. Their father, Michael Steffan, was seriously injured in a fire he set, presumably to cover the murders of the children. It was suspected his plan was to kill the children, disguise the crime, and collect the insurance money, but he was undone by his own greed. When he put gasoline on the kitchen stove, the blast caused grave burns that he was likely not to recover from. His trail in newspapers ended in February of 1932, so it is reasonable to assume he succumbed to his burns.

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