Police have released the identity of the mother found dead whose 1-year-old daughter is missing and the subject of an Amber Alert in Connecticut.
Investigators have been searching for 1-year-old Venessa Morales since Monday, Dec. 2, who was reported missing in Ansonia, when her mother was found dead in their home due to blunt force trauma.
On Thursday, Dec. 5, police released the identity of Morales’ mother, 43-year-old Christine Holloway, who was found dead in their Myrtle Avenue home, with her death ruled a homicide.
Ansonia police investigators said they received a tip that led them to conduct a search of donation bins on State Street in Hamden. They reportedly collected evidence that was to be analyzed and may help lead to Morales. They also searched for the missing child in Derby.
Morales was initially listed as an "endangered missing child," then both a Silver and Amber Alert were issued for her.
Investigators have spoken with Morales' father and other family members, none of whom knows of her whereabouts, Ansonia Police Lt. Patrick Lynch stated.
“We the family would like to ask for anyone in our communities and beyond us to help bring Vanessa home safely,” the family said in a statement. “Anyone with any information on her whereabouts, we beg of you, please contact Ansonia Police Department or call the FBI tip line (203) 503-5555. We desperately need anyone that may be with baby Venessa to keep her safe, unharmed and get her back to us quickly.”
Police said that they believe Morales is safe, though they are still investigating the circumstances of her disappearance.
“We believe that she is with someone safe, and we want to make it a priority that they understand whatever circumstances that they have received Vanessa, just bring her back to us so we know she’s safe,” Ansonia Police Lt. Patrick Lynch said at a press conference Thursday.
Police said that they first responded to a Myrtle Street home at approximately 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, for a welfare check after Morales' mother failed to show up for work and didn't call in sick. An officer responded to the house but didn't make contact with anyone.
A second welfare check was conducted later in the day at approximately 7:30 p.m., and officers then forced their way inside when there was no response again. At that point, they found the body of the mother, whose name has not been released.
Morales was not in the home when police arrived to investigate, and they have been unable to locate her. Her mother's death is being investigated as a domestic homicide.
Police have not identified a suspect, but are reportedly following multiple leads.
“It’s extremely important based on the conditions that if anyone is outside that we get them inside but it’s more important in this case because we don’t know where she is at all,” investigators said in a statement. “We don’t know if she’s outside or inside, if she’s safe with someone. We just want to locate her and make sure that she’s safe and we can get her back home to family.”
A prayer vigil for Morales and her mother has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Veterans Park in Ansonia.
Share this story by clicking on the Facebook icon below.
Police said they plan to hold daily news conferences to offer updates on the case to the public. Check Daily Voice for updates.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.