Latest tip comes up empty in search for missing Ansonia 1-year-old

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Ansonia police say a potential sighting at Bridgeport Hospital on Wednesday was not Vanessa Morales – the missing 1-year-old taken from her mother’s home after she was fatally beaten.

Thursday marks one month since investigators started looking for Morales. The search began Dec. 2 when police responded to a Myrtle Avenue home, where they found Christine Holloway beaten to death and Vanessa Morales missing.

The latest tip was based on surveillance video from Bridgeport Hospital that showed a toddler who resembled Vanessa with several people. Detectives identified and contacted those people and determined the little girl was not Vanessa.

"We try not to get caught up in the disappointment of it," says Lt. Patrick Lynch. "We just kind of push forward, put it aside and move on to the next one."

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Police have named her father, Jose Morales, their prime suspect in her disappearance and her mother's murder. He is currently in custody on unrelated charges.

Court records obtained by News 12 Connecticut show that Morales was charged twice in 2012 for violent incidents with an ex-girlfriend. In one instance, police said Morales was high on PCP when he pinned the woman down and threatened to "break all of her bones." The woman had a restraining order against him at the time of the incident.

Ansonia police have not specified what evidence links Morales to this case but say it's only a matter of time until he's charged.

“We're building a case. it's something that we don't want to rush into,” says Lt. Lynch. “We want to have a strong case to present to court so that once it goes there, we have a successful prosecution.”

Police told News 12 that they believe Vanessa is alive and have no reason to think she's left the state. The FBI continues to offer a $10,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to Vanessa's safe return.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885 or the FBI.

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