ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) — Family members of Vanessa Morales are holding on to hope that she’s still alive.
Police continue to pound the pavement in hopes of finding the missing 1-year-old. Officers are going door to door to follow up leads while combing through hours of video footage.
The department has one message for whoever has Vanessa: drop her off somewhere safe.
“However she came to be in your possession is irrelevant to us at this point,” said Lieutenant Patrick Lynch. “We want to make sure she is safe. We want to bring her home; that’s what we want.”
On Saturday, a large crowd filled Veterans Park in Ansonia to pray for her safe return.
Ansonia held a prayer vigil for Vanessa, who has been reported missing since Monday, Dec. 2.
“I’m speechless,” said Joshua Morales, Vanessa’s cousin. “So many people showed up tonight.”
People like Anna Florczak were there to show support for the family.
“We’re here for you,” Anna said. “It’s about showing strength in a difficult, difficult time.”
Another attendee, Ansonia mom Marissa Toth, come forward to help the family pass out flyers with pictures of Vanessa on them.
“I feel like it’s my duty as a mom in Ansonia to be able to advocate for her and help the family and try to get her home safely,” Toth said.
Ansonia Mayor Cassetti says he wants the Morales family to know “the city is with you.”
“This holiday season, we ask and pray for [Vanessa’s] safe return.”– Mayor Cassetti, Ansonia
Edward Smith, who’s married to one of Vanessa’s cousins, says this ordeal has been hard on the family — especially at this time of the year.
“We just want her home for Christmas,” Smith said.
The family says they are grateful to the community for showing support with handing out flyers, volunteering in search parties, and attending their vigil.
Vanessa was last seen with her mother, Christine Holloway, Nov. 29. Holloway was found dead in their home Monday. Police are investigating her death as a homicide.
Since then, police and the FBI have worked tirelessly to try and find Vanessa and who killed her mother. The authorities have followed up several leads that have taken them to towns surrounding Ansonia this week, like Hamden and Derby.
Late Saturday night, police acted on one of many tips. Ansonia police were called to join New Haven police to investigate reports of a suspicious object in the parking lot at the West View Commons apartments in the 1200 block of Ella T. Grasso Blvd in New Haven.
Police later determined that the object – a baby car seat – was not connected to the missing girl case. It was connected to a stolen car investigation in New Haven.
An Amber Alert for Vanessa was issued on Dec. 4. She is described as a 1-year-old girl with brown eyes, brown hair, stands 2′ 2″ and weighs 17 lbs.
So far, police have not named a suspect in Holloway’s death or in the disappearance of little Vanessa.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to contact Ansonia police at (203) 735-1885 or the FBI at (800) 225-5324.