ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) — Friday, Dec. 2, marks three years since Vanessa Morales went missing from Ansonia when she was just a year old. Since that day, her family and investigators have been pleading for the public’s help to bring her home.
Morales’ family believes she’s out somewhere, and they’re hoping someone knows where she is. Her aunt said they want closure and peace after all this time.
“It’s like Vanessa vanished into thin air,” Jodi Jacobellis, Morales’ aunt, said.
For the last three years, Jacobellis has been waiting for answers. She wants to know where her niece is.
“You sleep with your phone with the ringer on, waiting for the call,” Jacobellis said. “It doesn’t matter what time it is. Constant sleepless nights ever since this nightmare began.”
On Dec. 2, 2019, Ansonia police found Morales’ mother, Christine Holloway, murdered inside their home. The one-year-old was nowhere to be found.
“Every day when we go out, I just look,” Jacobellis said. “I look around. Every kid that I see at the store I stare at. Parents think I’m crazy, but I explain I’m just looking for my niece.”
Jose Morales was charged with Holloway’s murder and named a suspect in his daughter’s disappearance. Ansonia police said Morales told them he didn’t know where the child was, leading investigators to search across Connecticut, the country, and even outside the country to find her.
“We need to base our conclusions on the evidence we have,” Ansonia police Lt. Patrick Lynch said. “The evidence that we have is she has disappeared, and we do not know her whereabouts.”
Lynch asked anyone with tips or information on the case to come forward.
“Information that you don’t think is important, or you don’t think is significant, don’t hesitate to give it to us,” he said. “Something that you might not understand or think is significant could be a case breaker for us.”
It’s a plea echoed by Jacobellis and the Morales family.
“Just keep your eyes out, and if you’re the person that has her, just bring her home,” Jacobellis said. “That’s all we want… is her home.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progression photo of Morales in 2021 when she would have been two years old. No new pictures of her have been released since then.
Jose Morales has been in prison since being charged with murder in the death of Holloway in 2020. He’s due back in court in January.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Vanessa Morales is asked to contact the Ansonia Police Department at (203) 735-1885 or use the anonymous tip line online.