MI MI - Steven Kraft, 12, Benton Harbor, 15 Feb 2001

imstilla.grandma

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The community is keeping Steven’s story alive and hoping one day the truth about what happened is discovered.

“I know most of the people around here know about it, and they care about him too. Maybe we’ll go to the vigil tonight,” Fred Krolzick says. He lives on Holly Street and remembers when Steven went missing.

It was February 15th, 2001. A cold winter night was the start of a cold case. A 12-year-old boy goes missing. That boy was Steven Kraft, Jr.

“I would hope that if someone did know something out there that they would say something,” Krolzick says.

Steven left his home on Holly Street two decades ago. According to police, he was taking his two dogs for a walk between 7pm and 8pm. His family was expecting him back for dinner, however his meal turned cold that night. He never came back.

“There’s just a lot of sad news, you know, and no one wants to have something like that happen,” Mark Spaniola says. He also lives along Holly Street.

What exactly did happen? That’s the big question. Police and neighbors searched and searched back in 2001. The 12-year-old vanished without a trace.
Cold Case: Steven Kraft Jr still missing after 20 years
 

somequestions

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I was looking through missing person's cases that are 20 years old and came across this case which just had its 20th anniversary. I will describe the locations and the case as best I can from what I have read so far.

On the night of February 15, 2001, a Thursday, at approximately 7 pm 12 year old Steven Kraft left to walk his two dogs. When he did not come home later his family contacted the police. He lived at the corner of Holly Street and Euclid Avenue in Benton Heights, Michigan, right next to the Southwest Michigan Regional airport. You will not find his house because it has been torn down.

Holly Street is a dead end street. The story goes that he walked towards the dead end part of the street and around some woods in back. Then he crossed over a small pond to get to Irving Street. This is supposedly verified by his footprints crossing the pond. As far as I know that is where the trail ends. The two dogs he had with him eventually came home. One returned home itself while the other was found near Blue Creek.

Cases like this are so difficult because it seems like there is literally nothing to go on. The area around where Steven lived must have been well lit if he did not take a flashlight. He went for his walk at 7 pm. The only other thing I noticed was that in a tribute video, he made some drawings. In one of the drawings he sketched a car. Maybe he liked fast cars? He also had dogs with him so if someone did approach him, they would have to willing to deal with the dogs as well. I would guess that whoever abducted him might have or had dogs of their own.

It is surprising police did not find the abductor right there in the neighborhood east of where he lived. Hopefully someday there are answers as to what happened to Steven Kraft.
 

CastlesBurning

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Eight years of Dateline's Missing in America: 169 still missing

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On the evening of February 15, 2001, 12-year-old Steven Kraft left his family’s home in Benton Township, Michigan to go outside with two of his dogs. He told his family he’d be home for dinner, but never returned. A few days later, both of the Kraft family dogs returned home, but Steven was still nowhere to be found. Benton Township Chief of Police Brian Smit told Dateline in early 2019 that Steven’s young age combined with a disappearance that happened nearly two decades ago have made it impossible to try to track him. Steven was last known to be wearing a blue-green Charlotte Hornets basketball team jacket, a tan and white striped t-shirt, tan parachute pants and black boots. If you have any information on Steven’s case, please call the Benton Township Police Department at (269) 926-8221 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342-STOP (7867).
 

True Crime Verified

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It's still amazing to me how little has actually come from this case. As a local, and with it being such a small area, that something would have been found. I'd be interested to know how thoroughly the creek and pond was searched. I read mention that the pond was iced over, but that's the only place that I've seen that mentioned. As a local, I'd absolutely love to get permission from various property owners in the area to conduct searched. It appears that there's another small pond, or run-off reservoir near his house. I wonder if that was searched as well? Perhaps it would be worth it to get in touch with the leading agency and see if they'd be willing to offer advice in areas that they would recommend someone search.
 

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Just noticed this, and thought that I would update everyone. Both of Steven's parents passed away in 2021. His father on February 19th at the age of 58. His mother on April 3rd at the age of 59. Via the obituaries the father listed Steven as living, the mother did not.
 

somequestions

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Just noticed this, and thought that I would update everyone. Both of Steven's parents passed away in 2021. His father on February 19th at the age of 58. His mother on April 3rd at the age of 59. Via the obituaries the father listed Steven as living, the mother did not.

It is always sort of sad when the parents pass away. Even if the case gets solved, the fact that the parents died not knowing what happened has to be disappointing. The abduction happened at night so the one theory you can come up with is that whoever it was had to be able to see Steven as he was walking. But someone in a car could probably see him walking too. That is always a possibility.

As this case approaches its 21st anniversary, hopefully there is some clue that provides a break in the case and answers the question of what happened to Steven Kraft after he left to walk his two dogs on the night of February 15, 2001.
 

True Crime Verified

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It is always sort of sad when the parents pass away. Even if the case gets solved, the fact that the parents died not knowing what happened has to be disappointing. The abduction happened at night so the one theory you can come up with is that whoever it was had to be able to see Steven as he was walking. But someone in a car could probably see him walking too. That is always a possibility.

As this case approaches its 21st anniversary, hopefully there is some clue that provides a break in the case and answers the question of what happened to Steven Kraft after he left to walk his two dogs on the night of February 15, 2001.

Tomorrow I'm heading into the genealogy area for the St. Joseph library. I'll see what I can discover. Likely, most of my time will be directed to another case, but I'll try to spend an hour or so on Steven.
 

MichiganTrueCrimer

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Thought I'd try to shoot out a FOIA for this. The first image is what they're willing to release for free. The second image is how much they're wanting to charge for the rest of the records.
 

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inmyhumbleopinion

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Thought I'd try to shoot out a FOIA for this. The first image is what they're willing to release for free. The second image is how much they're wanting to charge for the rest of the records.
Almost $1,000 in redacting … kind of not surprised, personally ….
 

somequestions

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On the night of Thursday February 15, 2001, 12 year old Steven Kraft left his house between 7-8 pm when it was dark and took his dogs for a walk. He never returned. The interesting thing is the dogs did return. One came back to the house. The other, a puppy, was supposedly found wandering near Red Arrow Highway along Blue Creek.

The strange thing about this case to me is the dogs. When Steven did not return, search parties were sent out. The one thing I would like to know is all the dog sightings. He supposedly walked toward the dead end of his street, Holly Street. Then he may have crossed a pond to where his footprints took him to a church off Irving Street.

If he were abducted, what happened to the dogs? It was a residential neighborhood so how many neighbors, kids going to school the next day, etc saw the dogs before they were located? I guess we do not know.

But if the answer is no one, and based on where the puppy was found wandering to the north, I would think either he had some accident out in the woods or he may have wandered into someone's backyard, especially along the northernmost street of the neighborhood, Vista Lake Drive. Where did the dogs go when Steven Kraft went missing? That would be my main question in this case.
 

kev_i_f_ont

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I wouldn't definitively rule it out, but if you're referring to the picture below, based on the yellowing of the image and the clothing worn by the boy, it looks like it was taken in the early '80s.
jacobstales-com.jpg
The photo no longer shows up on the page. Can you please re-upload it?
 

kev_i_f_ont

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I have wondered what Devlin has to gain by denying it if he was involved in Steven Kraft's dissapearance? He s not getting out of jail ever though maybe he does not want everyone to know about whatever else he has done.
It's about control, serial predators like Devlin thrive on the control they have over their victims. Since he is the only man who knows where Steven is, and likely where Arlin is too, then he still controls them and he doesn't want to give up that perceived power unless he is forced to. That also takes advantage of Michigan and Missouri state laws that require physical evidence, in this case, human remains, to charge anyone with anything, no matter how strong the circumstantial evidence against Michael Devlin is.
 

kev_i_f_ont

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July 26 2020 rbbm.
Michael Devlin is now a suspect in five cases of missing boys
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''Just how far does Michael Devlin's trail lead? A police task force is looking into five cases of missing children, wondering if Devlin could be responsible. The five cases all involve the disappearance of young boys, including one in Illinois, three in Missouri, and one in Western Michigan. It's that case in Michigan that's raising a lot of questions. Police now know Devlin has strong ties to that part of the country.
"It's very eerie to think this guy, you've watched him on TV and he could possibly know after six years where your brother is." Jodi Bopp gets cold chills just thinking Michael Devlin could have kidnapped her brother Steven Kraft.
The 12-year-old went missing in February of 2001 in Benton Township, Michigan. A police task force now says, as a boy, Devlin's family would rent a cottage in Pentwater, Michigan: just two hours north of Benton Township. "I think the similarities are there as to what he did in Missouri could have happened up here", said Benton Township Police Chief Vince Fetke. "This guy was in Michigan, the highway was more than a mile and a half from our home. Then to come to find out he had kidnapped two other children for sure."
Those children, Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby reportedly lived in a Kirkwood apartment building with Devlin.''
Michael Devlin is also accused of having tried to lure a 14-year-old boy into his truck, in Robinson, Illinois, on December 26, 1998. The man tried offering the boy a ride in his truck on a cold day, but would-be victim was lucky enough to have run away and it had been reported to Crawford County Sheriff's office, but little to nothing was done. At the time, nobody knew who the suspect was until 21 years later when the victim chanced upon Devlin's mugshot while doing research on human trafficking. A criminal complaint has since been filed in that case, although nothing has yet been released to the public since the complaint was transferred to St. Louis FBI field office on Oct. 26, 2020. The victim in Robinson, at the time, was almost identical in appearance to Devlin's known victims, and Steven Kraft. Steven Kraft was also walking outside on a cold day. Could the same man have tried the same tactic?
 
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kev_i_f_ont

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I have wondered what Devlin has to gain by denying it if he was involved in Steven Kraft's dissapearance? He s not getting out of jail ever though maybe he does not want everyone to know about whatever else he has done.
Power and control. While Devlin remains the only person who knows where Stevie is and what happened to him, Devlin still maintains total control over him. That control over their victims is what serial sexual offenders thrive on. It's what makes them tick. Someone needs to convince Michael Devlin that he no longer has control over Stevie and I will bet a dollar he will confess when that happens.
 
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