Search continues for missing 1-year-old in Connecticut

Vanessa Morales of Ansonia has been missing since Monday.

ANSONIA, Conn. (AP) — The search for a missing 1-year-old girl whose mother was found dead in her home continued Friday as authorities urged anyone with knowledge of the case to come forward.

Police searched a wooded area in Derby behind two donation bins Friday, but it has not turned up any new information.

The family also passed out flyers to drivers with information about Vanessa Morales, who has been missing since Monday.

“It’s very hard on my grandparents, and I can only imagine the other side of the family, we just want her home,” said Joshua Morales, a cousin, in an interview with Fox 61.

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The FBI, Connecticut State Police and other police departments are still following leads on Vanessa Morales to locate her safely, said Ansonia Police Lt. Patrick Lynch late Thursday at a news conference.

“We are not looking to arrest or start criminal proceedings against whoever has Vanessa,” he said. “We just want to know where she is and that she is safe and well.”

Lynch has identified the mother as Christine Halloway, 43, who was found dead inside the home in Ansonia. A medical examiner’s report concluded she died from blunt force trauma.

Authorities previously said the girl’s name was spelled Venessa because a clerical error, Lynch said.

Jose Morales, Vanessa’s father, was arrested Tuesday by New Haven police on suspicion of illegal possession of two stun guns. Since he is a convicted felon, he is not allowed to possess weapons. He was jailed in New Haven on a $250,000 bond. Police said that his arrest is unrelated to the girl’s disappearance and that he is cooperating with investigators.

Police sent an Amber Alert on Wednesday. Vanessa is described as 2 feet 2 (66 centimeters), weighing about 17 pounds (7 kilograms) and having brown hair and eyes.

Lynch said investigators have recovered evidence from a donation center in Hamden and are searching donation bins in Derby, as well.

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