Venessa Morales is the baby girl who was reported missing after her mother, Christine Marie Holloway, was found dead in their home in Ansonia, Connecticut. An Amber Alert has been issued.
Holloway was discovered dead on Monday, December 2, 2019. Family members had last seen the mother and child the previous Friday, on the day after Thanksgiving. Police waited until Friday, December 6, to publicly share Holloway’s name.
The city of Asonia is about 10 miles west of New Haven, which is where Yale University is located.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Police Believe Venessa Morales Is Endangered & the FBI Is Assisting With the Investigation
The Ansonia Police Department believes that Venessa Morales could be in danger. She is one-year-old with brown hair and brown eyes. Police are not sure what she may have been wearing when she disappeared. Venessa weighs about 17 pounds and is just over two feet tall.
Police have not released any details about who they think could have taken the child. The FBI, the Connecticut State Police, and officers from the Derby Police Department are assisting with the search.
Lt. Patrick Lynch of Ansonia Police says that officers are “tracking down several leads” and identifying possible locations where Morales could have been taken in the hopes of bringing her home safely.
2. Officers Conducted a Welfare Check at the Home After Venessa’s Mother Failed to Show Up for Work
Venessa Morales’ mother, Christine Holloway, did not show up for work following the Thanksgiving holiday. Ansonia Police explained during a news conference that on December 2, the department received a call at 12:56 p.m.
The caller expressed concern for Holloway because she had not called in sick to work. Officers responded to the home on Myrtle Avenue but left after no one answered the door.
The department then received a second phone call at 7:30 p.m., from a caller again asking them to conduct a welfare check on the house. The officers went back and again no one answered. But this time, officers decided to force their way inside the house. Lt. Lynch explained that the responding officers had “seen some things that raised their suspicion” but did not provide details beyond that.
Family members of Christine Holloway have been posting to social media about the little girl’s disappearance, urging anyone with information to help bring Venessa home safely.
3. Police Found a Woman Dead Inside the Home & Are Investigating the Case as a Homicide
When members of the Ansonia Police Department got inside the home on Myrtle Avenue, they discovered Venessa Morales’ mother deceased inside. Investigators have not specified how Christine Holloway died so as not to compromise future leads.
But Police Chief Andrew Cota has said that it was clear that the victim had not died of natural causes. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.
Detectives say that this appears to be an isolated incident and that the general public is not in danger.
Police said that Venessa should have been at the house with her mother. But the child was gone when officers entered the home.
4. Police: Venessa’s Father Is Cooperating & Was Not Considered a Suspect
Lt. Patrick Lynch explained in a news conference that Venessa Morales’ father has been cooperating with the investigation. When asked if the father was considered a suspect, Lynch responded, “We have no identified suspects in the case at this time.”
He added that detectives are “checking everyone out.” Members of Venessa’s family, including relatives on both her mother’s and father’s side, have been interviewed.
Lt. Lynch clarified that Venessa Morales’ father occasionally stayed at the home on Myrtle Avenue, but did not live there. The child and her mother lived there alone.
5. Police Have Issued an Amber Alert In the Search For Venessa Morales
The Ansonia Police Department initially issued a Silver Alert for Venessa Morales. Lt. Lynch said that once all of their leads had been “exhausted,” then the department would consider issuing an Amber Alert.
The department made that determination mid-afternoon on December 4, 2019. An Amber Alert is now in effect.
The difference between a Silver Alert and an Amber Alert is that in the case of an Amber Alert, there is evidence to suggest that the child has been kidnapped and faces imminent bodily harm.
Police are asking anyone with information to call the department at 203-735-1885.