Jose Morales, father of missing 1-year-old Vanessa Morales, appears in court for weapons charges

Crime

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The father of missing 1-year-old Vanessa Morales appeared in court Wednesday on weapons charges.

Related: Vanessa Morales’ father named suspect in her abduction, mother’s death, Ansonia police say

Jose Morales has been named a suspect in the two-pronged investigation involving both the disappearance of Vanessa Morales and the death of her mother, Christine Holloway. He has not been charged in either case.

In court Wednesday, Morales was wearing a red jump suit, with his arms behind his back and feet shackled. His brief superior court appearance in New Haven addressed an unrelated weapons charge.

Morales made an appearance in front of Judge Melanie Cardel. His lawyer, Senior Assistant Public Defender Margaret Moreau, told the judge she and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney David Strollo were still in the discovery phase and that she is waiting for body cam footage taken by officers executing the search warrant at Morales’s home that yielded two stun guns.

That investigation was part of the search for Vanessa and her mother’s killer. Ansonia PD called in New Haven authorities to handle that discovery because – as a convicted felon – Morales is not legally allowed to own those stun guns.

In court, Christine’s family sat in the gallery, her Aunt Anne broke down crying when Morales came into the courtroom.

She was too upset to comment on camera afterwords. A member of the Morales family was in court as well, sitting with Christine’s aunt and brother; he comforted Anne as she cried.

The family tells News 8 they remain committed to finding Vanessa.

Morales did not speak; he kept his head down and his eyes on the ground, and did not look at the gallery.

43-year-old Morales remains in the custody of New Haven authorities and is held on $250,000 bond.

He is set to appear in court again regarding his weapons charge January 22, 2020.

Vanessa has been missing for over two weeks. If you know where she is, please contact the Ansonia Police Department or the FBI at (203) 503-5555.

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