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Aaron "Cody" Stepp

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Aaron "Cody" Stepp

Post  Susan on Sun 26 Oct - 9:50



Cody was reportedly last seen playing in a neighbor's backyard on Hosack Street in Columbus, Ohio at approximately 7:00 p.m. on March 11, 1997. He has never been heard from again.
Cody vanished the day before his mother, Robyn Y. Stepp, was released from prison. She served 17 months for two theft convictions. Robyn's sister, Mickey Stepp, had physical custody of Cody since January 1994 and legal custody since December 1996. Mickey told authorities that she believed Cody's maternal grandmother, Janice Stiles, was supervising him while she went to the store. Stiles claimed that she thought Cody accompanied Mickey on the errand.

Robyn attempted to have her son declared legally deceased in 1998, approximately 17 months after he was reported missing. She claimed that Mickey and Stiles withheld information regarding Aaron's disappearance. Several family members testified that they had not seen the child for several months prior to March 1997. Mickey and Stiles denied allegations that they allowed Cody to be removed from their home in order to receive illegal monthly welfare benefits of $279.

One of Stiles's children testified that she physically abused her children in the past. Stiles's two-year-old daughter died in 1964 and numerous burns were found on the child's body. Authorities closed the case without filing charges against anyone.

Investigators were unable to locate evidence suggesting Cody even resided with Mickey and Stiles after he was reported missing. Authorities said that there was no clothing, toys or photos connected to the child inside the home. Robyn testified that she saw Cody for the final time on December 18, 1995. She claimed that her mother and sister refused to allow her to speak to her son when she called from prison.

Investigators testified that they suspected foul play was involved in Cody's case, but could not produce evidence to support the theory. The judge refused to declare the child legally deceased due to the inconclusive nature of his case.

There was an unconfirmed sighting of Cody in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1997, four months after he disappeared. The witness reportedly saw a child fitting Cody's description between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. at DeFluri's Restaurant on Benner Pike. The child was accompanied by two unidentified adult females and two other children at the time. One of the women was described as a Caucasian female with medium-length dark hair. She was approximately 30 to 40 years old and 130 pounds. The second female was described as being of Asian or Pacific Islander descent with very short dark hair. She was in her late teens or early twenties and wore dark-framed eyeglasses and full-length jeans or denim shorts. The people spotted in the restaurant have never been identified, including the children.

Cody's case remains unsolved.

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Re: Aaron "Cody" Stepp

Post  Susan on Sun 26 Oct - 9:53

Case cold 10 years after boy vanished

Sunday, March 11, 2007
Theodore Decker
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Jim McCoskey rarely takes out the box anymore.

A phone call or tip sometimes prompts the Columbus homicide detective to lift the lid and leaf through the binders of information, much of it a decade old.

And each year around this time, he says, the reporters come calling. He takes out the box then, too, even though heís added little new information to it in recent years.

Written in marker on the side of the box is the name Cody Stepp.

His full name is Aaron Cody Stepp, and he was 3 years old when he went missing from the South Side 10 years ago today.

In the years since the boy vanished, there have been interviews and polygraphs, accusations and excavations, even a court hearing when his mother unsuccessfully sought to have him declared dead.

Yet there remains no sign of Cody. No one has been charged in his disappearance.

"Cody could have been given away. He could have literally been sold," McCoskey said. "Do I know definitely, is he dead? No, I donít."

Cody was reported missing on March 11, 1997, by his aunt Mickey Stepp.

His disappearance outside the family home at 214 Hosack St. came the day before his mother, Robyn Stepp, was to be released after 17 months in jail.

Mickey Stepp, who died in 2004 at age 31, had legal custody of the boy from when he was 4 months old because of Robyn Steppís long history of drug use and prostitution.

Police soon began doubting the scenario outlined by Mickey Stepp and Codyís grandmother Janice Stiles, who lived with Mickey Stepp and Cody .

McCoskey said the investigation revealed that no neighbors or relatives could recall seeing Cody for nearly a year before he was reported missing. A search of the home shared by Stiles and Mickey Stepp turned up little evidence that a child his age lived there. Authorities also dug in several sites for Codyís body but found nothing.

Detectives also learned that Stiles had a daughter named Tennie Stepp, who died in 1964 at age 2. Her death certificate says Tennie died of chronic bronchitis, but an autopsy showed burns all over her body. Her death was never investigated further, McCoskey said.

Mickey Stepp flunked two polygraph tests, police said. Stiles refused to take one, and McCoskey said both women rapidly became uncooperative, never checking on the status of the investigation as the years passed.

A message left for Stiles, 67, at her home at 258 E. Barthman Ave., where a "We Believe in Angels" sign hangs in the front door, was not returned last week.

It is unclear whether a rift that developed between Stiles and Robyn Stepp after Codyís disappearance still exists. Robyn Stepp could not be found for comment, but court records and police reports from the past year show her living at Stilesí home.

Soon after the boy vanished, Robyn Stepp accused relatives of taking her son and hiding him from her.

McCoskey still gets an occasional call on the case, usually prompted by an age-progressed picture of what Cody might look like now. All have been dead ends.

"You could almost term it a cold case at this point," he said. "Thereís nothing new."

His own theory: "Heís dead, or he was sold into a culture like a pornography culture."

A reward of up to $2,000 is still available through Central Ohio Crime Stoppers for information that cracks the case, president Kevin Miles said.

"Itís hard to believe itís 10 years," Miles said.

Itís rare for children to turn up alive after a long time, but it can happen. On Jan. 12 near St. Louis, police found in the apartment of a 41-year-old pizzeria manager not only a 13-year-old boy abducted four days earlier but a 15-year-old boy who had disappeared in 2002.

"We never close a case until itís resolved," said Joann Donnellan, spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The center to date has received 80 tips on Cody and still features his picture in mailings and online, focusing on Columbus and an area of West Virginia where he has relatives.

"We canít give up on (Cody) until we have some sort of resolution," she said.

Anyone with information on Cody should call the homicide squad at 614-645-4730, the national center at 1-800-THELOST (843-5678) or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-645-TIPS (8477). A picture of what he might look like today can be found at www.missingkids.com.

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Re: Aaron "Cody" Stepp

Post  Guest on Sun 26 Oct - 19:46

Missing TEN years....How are his family getting throught the days? I know it's horrible when a child (or anyone) is found dead, but al least you get some closure. Poor little boy. I hope after 10 years something comes to light, but I fear it won't....
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Re: Aaron "Cody" Stepp

Post  Guest on Mon 24 Aug - 15:01

Missing Child Ė Aaron Cody Stepp

The Aaron Cody Step case is a huge one, because it has been going on for at least ten years. Detectives are even speculating whether or not his aunt and grandmother waited a year between the time he went missing to the time they called the police.

It seems, from everything I have read, that Aaron usually went by the name Cody, so I will refer to him as such throughout the rest of my post.

Cody is missing from Columbus, Ohio. He lived with his grandmother after his mother was arrested and held on theft convictions. He was reported missing on March 11, 1997, and nobody had been paying attention to him.

When police searched the scene from where Cody went missing, they did not find any clues. There were no signs that Cody had even ever been to the house. Neighbors said they hadnít seen the boy in at least 6 months, and relatives had not seen the child for almost a year. Codyís mother had not been able to speak to him from prison either.

Codyís grandmother had a child die on her watch before, and police now believe that she is the murderer of that child, back in the 1960s. His grandmother is also thought to be a ďpimpĒ, using her daughters to make money.

Police also believe that the only reason the aunt and grandmother called the police to report him missing was the fact that his mother was getting out of prison the very next day.

There is even some wondering if poor Cody was sold into some shady business, possibly not dead. At this point, I donít know which would be a better fate for Cody.

There is still hope though.

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"Codyís grandmother had a child die on her watch before, and police now believe that she is the murderer of that child, back in the 1960s. His grandmother is also thought to be a ďpimpĒ, using her daughters to make money..."

This doesn't look good for Cody.

I can find no new news on this little boy.

Still missing
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