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Authorities in Connecticut are searching for a missing 1-year-old girl after her mother was found dead in the family’s Ansonia home.
The woman’s body was discovered the night of Monday, December 2 during a welfare check at the family’s home, but 1-year-old Venessa — who should have been at the residence — was missing, according to Fox affiliate WTIC-TV.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities have now launched an effort to find the missing girl as authorities still try to determine what happened to her mother, who died of a homicide.
“This is a two-part investigation — the first part is a homicide investigation, the second is a missing child investigation,” Ansonia Police Lt. Patrick Lynch said, according to The New Haven Register. “Our main focus at the moment is finding Venessa Morales and making sure she’s safe.”
Morales was last seen by family members on Friday, local station WFSB reports.
At a press conference Tuesday, authorities said they were called to the family’s home twice on Monday to conduct two separate welfare checks. Police were initially called to the home around 1 p.m. Monday after the woman — who has not been publicly identified — failed to show up to her job.
Her employer called police and asked for the welfare check; however, when an officer arrived at the home, no one came to the door.
Police were called to make a second welfare check by the woman’s family around 7:30 p.m. Monday. Officers decided to force entry into the home and discovered the woman dead inside.
Police Chief Andrew Cota III said on Tuesday that Morales’ mother “did not die of natural causes," according to the New Haven Register.
Investigators have spoken with missing toddler’s father, who told police that he stayed at the home sometimes, but did not live there. He has been cooperating with authorities and police have declined to say whether he is considered a suspect in the case.
“We have no identified suspects in the case, at this time,” Lynch said, according to WTIC-TV. “We are following several leads and we are tracking those down as we go.”
Mayor David Cassetti told the New Haven Register that finding the missing baby remains a top priority — and was a message he has already communicated to Cota as the investigation continues.
“When I heard this little girl was missing I told him to use all the resources he needs — state police, the feds — everything. I want this baby found,” he said. “That is paramount. That has to be the focus.”
A Silver Alert for Morales was issued Tuesday morning that described her as an “endangered missing child.”
She has been described as 2’2” tall and weighing 17 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact authorities.
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