Vanessa Morales was 14 months old when she disappeared one year ago today, on Dec. 2, 2019, and there has been no sign of the little girl since.
The last time family members saw her was the Friday night before her mother's body was found. Police and the FBI have been involved in the investigation, hoping that tips from anyone with information will help bring Vanessa home.
Police Find Vanessa's Mom Dead in
Officers responded to a home on Myrtle Avenue in Ansonia on Dec. 2, 2019, after 43-year-old Christine Holloway didn't show up for work and her family had not heard from her. Officers found Holloway dead with no sign of her 1-year-old daughter, Vanessa.
Mom's Death Ruled a Homicide
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of Christine's death was blunt force trauma and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.
Amber Alert Issued for Missing Ansonia Baby
Police initially issued a Silver Alert for Vanessa, but changed the alert days later. The official Amber Alert for Vanessa was issued Dec. 4, 2019, two days after she was reported missing.
Amber Alert: What's the Criteria?
According to the Amber Alert website, as of May 2020, 988 children were rescued through the Alert system and 66 children due to the wireless emergency alerts.
Alerts are issued for abducted children that meet these following criteria:
- Reasonable belief by police that an abduction has occurred.
- Law officials believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an Amber Alert.
- The child abducted must be 17 years old or younger.
- The child’s name and other critical data elements have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
Jose Morales Charged with Christine Holloway's Death
On Feb. 7, Morales was arrested and charged with murder and tampering with evidence in Holloway's death. Later that day, he appeared in court for his arraignment after being held on a $5 million bond. He has pleaded not guilty and is due in court on Jan. 21.
Jose Morales, who was dating Christine and is the father of 1-year-old Vanessa, had been in custody on a criminal possession of a firearm charge out of New Haven that was unrelated to the Holloway homicide before being charged.
A Community Comes Together
The news of Christine Holloway's murder and Vanessa Morales' disappearance shocked the Ansonia community. Dozens of people gathered to show their support by volunteering to pass out flyers and praying for the family.
Several weeks after the disappearance, investigators released photos of items Holloway used to care for her daughter. Officials said they had not located those items and believed they might be with Vanessa or might have been discarded.
Photos: The Case of Missing 1-Year-Old Vanessa Morales
Suspect in Holloway Murder Pleads Not Guilty
Jose Morales was charged with the murder of Christine Holloway. His attorney, Kevin Smith entered the not guilty plea to the charges of murder and tampering with evidence. Smith also requested a jury trial.
Following the plea hearing, the State’s Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
Anyone with information on the disappearance of Vanessa Morales is asked to call FBI tip line at 203-503-5555 or the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885 or through Tip411.