Media Contact: Curtis T. Hill, Jr. (574) 296-1888

On Wednesday, October 22, a jury in Elkhart County in Superior Court 1 found an Elkhart man guilty of the crimes of Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Child and Auto Theft, both Class D felonies, and Invasion of Privacy, a Class A misdemeanor. The jury, sitting in Elkhart County Superior Court One in downtown Elkhart, convicted Steven A. Bird after two days of testimony and evidence and despite Bird’s failure to attend his own trial.

In the early hours of February 11, 2014, on a night where temperatures were near zero, police were called to a home on the south side of Elkhart for a possible auto theft and domestic incident. They met Bird’s wife, who reported that Bird had just fled the address with her parents’ car and their young daughter in the back. She further stated that she had recently obtained a protective order against him but that he had some visitation allowed with their daughter. Earlier that evening, after he brought her daughter back after she finished work, she had given him a ride when his own car broke down. However, when they arrived, he started an argument, became irate, and slammed her head against the interior of the car, before physically pushing her out the door and leaving with the car. She was forced to walk over two miles back to her parents’ home in the freezing weather, during which she said he repeatedly came back and would get out and hit her. Finally, she reported that he threatened her not to go inside at the home before taking off with their child and the car, which she and her parents explicitly had told him he could not use or drive.

The jury heard testimony from the victim’s parents as well as the Elkhart Police Officers who responded, investigated, and quickly caught and arrested Bird. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Dowd also played for the jury the victim’s mother’s tearful 911 call, during which the victim can be heard sobbing in the background as she recounts what happened to her. The victim herself told her full, harrowing account to the jury, including the additional details that Bird had hit her with the car door, followed and threatened her as she walked in the cold to keep her from seeking help, and even got out and threw her into a snowbank when she would not obey his orders.

Despite being reminded of his pending trial date at a hearing in September, Bird failed to appear for his trial and his final status hearing the week before, and he was tried “in absentia.” The jury was undeterred by his absence and found him guilty as charged on all counts. A warrant now is pending for his arrest.


“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”