Wyoming conviction revives old local case


The trail is cold, but Bellevue police are looking more closely into the disappearance of a local woman - and are talking to authorities in Wyoming and Mississippi about a 40-year-old drifter.

The man is the half-brother of Elizabeth Eisel, who disappeared from her Bellevue apartment without a trace in 1985, leaving behind an infant son and all her belongings. The man is facing life in prison on a rape conviction in Wyoming. Mississippi authorities say he is a suspect in the disappearance and possible death of another woman.

Steven DeLoge is now in jail in Laramie, Wyo., pending sentencing. He pleaded guilty to six counts of raping a girl.

Laramie County District Attorney Jon Forwood is seeking a sentence of up to 20 years on the first count and five consecutive life terms on the other counts.

Meanwhile, Bellevue police Maj. Craig Turi says Detective Jeff Gomes has been making inquiries about Eisel and DeLoge for some time.

"If DeLoge gets life, maybe he might say something (about Eisel)," Turi said.

Bellevue police previously learned that Eisel, who had been adopted, had tracked down her half-brother and that the two lived together in an apartment near Main Street and 108th Avenue Northeast. She eventually had a baby boy.

"They gave the appearance of being married because of the baby," said Lt. Ed Mott, who helped investigate the case when he commanded the Violent Crimes Unit.

Then DeLoge fell for a woman living in the apartment complex, according to Mott, but the woman said DeLoge had to leave Eisel first.

The next day Eisel was gone, never to be seen again, Mott said.

Detectives questioned DeLoge, with little success. He moved in with his girlfriend, later turned the baby over to state Child Protective Services and the couple left town. They surfaced a few years later married and living in a trailer in northern Idaho.

They had two children, along with domestic problems. Later, they moved to the Midwest and divorced. Five or six years ago, DeLoge was in jail for some unrelated crime.

Gomes went to the Midwest to interview the woman, but she was afraid to talk about DeLoge, Mott said.

Bellevue police lost track of DeLoge until earlier this year, when they received a call from police in Wyoming. A Cheyenne detective told Gomes that DeLoge had been charged in the rape of a child and that paperwork from the Bellevue Police Department had been found in his personal belongings.

According to Laramie County sheriff's investigators, an 8-year-old girl had crawled out of the Cheyenne apartment where she had been living with her 9-year-old brother and DeLoge. She told police the assaults began when she lived in DeSoto County, Miss., and continued until October 1999 after she and her brother were taken to Wyoming by DeLoge.

Their mother, Katherine Lowery, also known as Connie Harper, vanished shortly before DeLoge and the two children arrived in Wyoming.

DeSoto County sheriff's Capt. Mark Blackson said Wyoming police notified him that the children hadn't seen their mother since leaving Mississipi. Deputies went to a Mississippi farmhouse DeLoge had rented and found it had been emptied and cleaned by the owner. Using chemical sprays, deputies found blood splatters on the floors and walls, Blackson said.

Now, Blackson says, an infrared device will be used to search for a body possibly buried somewhere on the 25-acre tract.

In November 1999, a grand jury in Oxford, Miss., indicted DeLoge on one count of transporting a minor under the age of 12 across the state line with intent to engage in sex.

Forwood said DeLoge has 11 aliases.

Louis T. Corsaletti's phone message number is 206-515-5626. His e-mail address is lcorsaletti@seattletimes.com.