Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Krystal Dawn Steadman


On March 23, 2000, a woman contacted Douglas County Sheriff's Investigator Mark Munoz and claimed Thomas Soria Sr. had sexually assaulted her daughter. According to the woman, whose father lives in the apartment building near the Sorias, upon hearing the media reports revolving around the Soria case, her 15-year-old daughter came forward and told her Thomas Soria Sr. had sexually molested her. According to the victim, in October 1999, T.J. and his father convinced her that Soria Sr. — who the son introduced as his "uncle Tom" — was sick with tumors that could explode if he got upset. The two then persuaded her that the uncle would die if she did not have sex with him. The girl, who had expressed a romantic interest in the son, allegedly agreed to sleep with the "uncle" at the urging of the younger Soria.

Thomas Soria, Sr.'s computers
Thomas Soria, Sr.'s computers

Following the girl's shocking statement, the case began to take an unexpected turn. As it turned out, a computer, belonging to Thomas Soria Sr., which had been confiscated following his son's arrest, was found to contain multiple pictures depicting child pornography. In addition, investigators also discovered texts by Soria Sr., describing his twisted fetishes and dark desires. On March 28, 2000, Soria Sr. was arrested and charged with sexual assault against a child under the age of 16, arising from the October 1999 incident. It was also announced that he was now considered a suspect in Krystal's murder. Following his arrest, Soria Sr. was remanded to the Douglas County Jail, where he was held on a $500,000 bond. In addition to the charges against Soria Sr., Douglas County District Attorney Scott Doyle filed charges against T.J. Soria for aiding and abetting his father in the commission of the offense.

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini
Douglas County Sheriff Ron

Father and son were arraigned on March 29, 2000, in the Tahoe Township Justice Court, on sexual assault charges stemming from the October 1999 incident with the 15-year-old girl — the father, because he allegedly engaged in sexual activity with the girl, and the son because he allegedly encouraged it. In addition to the sexual assault charges, Thomas Soria Sr. was also charged with the sexual assault and murder of Krystal Steadman. "Evidence supports the additional charges," Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini told the Nevada Appeal. However he refused to elaborate on what evidence they had to implicate Soria Sr. in Krystal's death. "We have up to ten investigators working an exhaustive amount of hours, and they have done a superb job. They have been very meticulous and are doing what's right; taking their time to make sure everything's done legally. I'm comfortable we will have a successful prosecution when this evidence is presented," Pierini said. Following the hearing, both Sorias were held without bail. They were scheduled to return to court April 5.

On April 2, 2000, the Douglas County District Attorneys office announced that investigators had found semen belonging to Soria Sr. on Krystal's clothing. During a press release, Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini told the Tahoe Daily Tribune that neither suspect was talking with investigators. "What role each of them played is still under investigation," he said. "It is safe to say that Soria Sr. was an active participant." Lawyers for the Sorias refused to speak to the press.  Tod Young, defense attorney for 19-year-old Soria Jr., said, "(We) intend to defend our client in the courtroom and not in the media."

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