‘Don’t forget about my niece.’ Search for Ansonia child marks three years
Vanessa Morales' family still thinks of her a giggling, happy 1-year-old, just starting to walk. But Vanessa’s fourth birthday was in September.
“I don't know if her hair’s long, her hair's short. But I know one thing, her eyes never change, and that's the one thing that I keep on looking at when I go to a store and see a kid. I look at their eyes. And that hurts,” Vanessa’s aunt Jodi Jacobellis explained emotionally. “And to have people stare at me like, ‘Why are you staring at my child?’ And it's like, I have a missing family member. I'm just looking for them.”
Jacobellis never thought three years would pass without knowing what happened to her niece or where she is. The search began when Ansonia police discovered Vanessa's mom, Christine Holloway, killed in their home and Vanessa gone. They arrested Jose Morales, Vanessa's father, for Holloway’s murder and named him the prime suspect in his daughter's disappearance.
“Unfortunately, we stand in the same spot we stood December 2 of 2019. Vanessa has disappeared and we have no indication as to what happened to her or her whereabouts,” said Lt. Patrick Lynch, of the Ansonia Police Department.
He said investigators continue to meet on a regular basis to talk about any new information that’s come up or see if there’s something they need to take another look at. Lynch added that most of the officers and detectives on the case have kids so there’s a personal aspect to it.
Jose Morales is awaiting trial for Holloway's murder, so he isn't talking right now. But like police, Jacobellis said there's no doubt in her mind he knows where Vanessa is.
“It's frustrating,” Jacobellis said. “You just want to shake him. Just, like please, just tell us.”
She told News 12 she doesn’t think Vanessa is still in Connecticut. “I don’t know if it’s Puerto Rico. It could be anywhere. Florida? New York? I don’t know.”
But as another year passed, Jacobellis made a tearful plea to the public. “Don't forget about my niece. Just keep on looking for her. And hopefully whoever has her if they're watching the news, just bring her home to us.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 203-735-1885 or leave an anonymous tip here.