With woman missing, a mother worries


A Seminole woman hasn’t been seen since a court appearance Feb. 6, when she appeared to be pregnant.

By CURTIS KRUEGER
Published April 18, 2006


[Times photo: Dirk Shadd]

Linda Steenberge, 61, holds a photograph of her missing daughter, Melissa Steenberge Pound, 34. The photo, which is about 2 years old, shows Pound with her nephew Thomas Ford and a daughter, Joanna Pound. Steenberge says Pound has suffered from depression.


 

In 2004, Spirit,
a wolf-dog hybrid,
mauled one of Pound’s daughters.

   
 

Melissa Steenberge Pound, a 34-year-old Seminole woman with a history of depression, was expecting to give birth to a baby two months ago.

But she has disappeared, possibly with her infant child, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office wants help finding her. So does her mother, who is worried about their safety.

“I just want to know that she’s all right,” Linda Steenberge said.

It is the second traumatic event for the family in as many years.

In 2004, Melissa’s then-2-week-old daughter, Susanna, was mauled by Spirit, a wolf-dog hybrid owned by a relative. That event generated wide local publicity and focused attention on the question of whether wolf hybrids should be allowed to live in urban and suburban areas. Spirit was soon put to sleep.

In the latest case, Steenberge said Gregory Steven Pound, father of Melissa’s children, was jailed for failing to provide information about her.

Public records indicate Pound is being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail on a charge of contempt of court, but Pinellas sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Bordner said he had no information on why.

Steenberge said her daughter and Pound consider themselves husband and wife, but are not legally married.

Steenberge is especially concerned about her daughter because she has suffered from postpartum depression.

“I think she’s … in depression to where she doesn’t know where she is,” Steenberge said.

It has happened before. Steenberge said her daughter, after giving birth in the past, became completely disoriented and “she didn’t know who she was.” She said her daughter did not take her normally prescribed anti-depression medication during her pregnancy.

It’s not clear whether Melissa has the baby with her.

She was last seen in a Feb. 6 court appearance, but Steenberge said she seemed to still be pregnant then.

Bordner declined to say whether detectives had checked local hospitals to see if Melissa had given birth. But even if she has, it might not have been at a hospital. Steenberge said her daughter previously had her babies at home.

Melissa last telephoned relatives on Feb. 9 and 11, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

After the dog bite two years ago, child welfare workers took the Pounds’ four children away and placed them with their grandparents, Steenberge and her husband, in Largo. Since then, the youngest child’s facial scars have almost completely healed, but she may have suffered some brain damage from the attack, Steenberge said.

Melissa has been working on a plan with foster care workers designed to help her prove she could safely regain the custody of the children, who are 6, 4, 2 and 20 months. Now, she has not been in contact with the kids for two months, and Steenberge said that’s unlike her.

The oldest child has started to notice her mother’s absence and recently said, “I hate my life,” Steenberge said. When she asked why, the girl said, “Because Mom’s not coming to visit and because Mom’s not calling me.”

Melissa Pound of 9166 Sunrise Drive in Seminole is described as a white woman, 5 feet 5 inches tall, about 120 pounds, with blue eyes and shoulder-length brown hair.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to call Detective Ed Judy at (727) 582-6200.

[Last modified April 18, 2006, 01:48:05]

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