NEW YORK -- The battered body of Elizabeth Steinberg, allegedly beaten to death by her adoptive father, was turned over to the child's natural mother who won the right to bury the child she never knew.

Meanwhile, sources close to the case said a grand jury was investigating charges that Joel B. Steinberg, the man to whom the mother gave Elizabeth six years ago, was part of a black-market baby-selling ring.

Steinberg, 46, a criminal defense attorney from Greenwich Village, and his common-law wife, former book editor Hedda Nussbaum, have been charged with second-degree murder. The lawyer is accused of beating the child to death in an apartment steeped in filth and drugs.

The attorney had pretended to adopt 6-year-old Elizabeth Steinberg, known as Lisa.

Michelle Launders, 26, the natural mother, won the right to bury Lisa in an emotional hearing in New York Surrogate's Court today.

The child's bruised body was turned over to Launders this afternoon. Lisa will probably be buried today -- a week after she died in St. Vincent's Hospital.

"I don't feel it's right to have my child . . . buried near, close to, or by the people that did kill her," Launders said in the court session.

Launders said she saw her baby for only "20 seconds" six years ago before the child was handed over to Steinberg. Cornachio said Launders paid Steinberg $500 to find a wealthy Roman Catholic home for the baby to "give her the opportunity {Launders} never had and could never possibly give her."

Steinberg brought the child to a family, but when they refused to pay the $50,000 fee he demanded, he took the baby back, Cornachio said.

Steinberg, who is under suicide watch at a hospital in the Rikers Island jail, wanted Lisa to be buried in his family's plot in a Jewish cemetery. But the judge said there was no evidence Steinberg or Nussbaum had adopted the girl as they had claimed.

Launders will have the child buried in a Catholic ceremony but also wants a rabbi to speak at the funeral, her lawyer said.