Photo: Contributed Photo / Ansonia Police Department
ANSONIA — It was a close call.
Bridgeport police reached out to police in Ansonia around 8 p.m. Wednesday to report a possible sighting of missing 1-year-old Vanessa Morales at Bridgeport Hospital.
Ansonia detectives immediately responded to the hospital and reviewed the surveillance video that captured a female child who looked like Vanessa with several other people, Lt. Patrick Lynch said Thursday.
While the child depicted in the Bridgeport Hospital video bore a “fairly close resemblance” to missing Vanessa Morales, Lynch said, the girl on the footage appeared younger. He said the officers were able to contact the individuals from the footage and “verified it was not Vanessa.”
Despite the sighting not panning out, Lynch said he was thankful people continue to keep an eye out for the missing girl and call authorities with leads.
“We still believe Vanessa is out there,” he said. “All of the items we have asked people to look for are still out there somewhere. We think that their discovery will lead us to Vanessa.”
He urged people to continue to use social media and word of mouth in searching for Vanessa and the items.
“And we will do our due diligence,” Lynch said.
Morales has been missing since Dec. 2 when Ansonia police went to the Myrtle Avenue home of her mother, 43-year-old Christine Holloway. Police responded twice to the home on welfare checks — not making contact the first time and deciding to force entry the second.
Officers found Holloway bludgeoned to death in the home. Vanessa, who should have been there, was nowhere to be found.
The toddler’s father, Jose Morales, has been in custody since his arrest Dec. 3 in New Haven on weapons charges that Lynch said were unrelated to Holloway’s death and Vanessa’s disappearance.
Morales remains in state custody on the pending illegal firearm possession charges. He has a previous arrest record, including a 2012 conviction for violation of a protective order and disorderly conduct after an incident in Meriden.
Although police have named 43-year-old Morales as the prime suspect in their joint investigation into the girl’s disappearance and Holloway’s homicide, he has not been charged in connection with either.
Ansonia police have teamed up with law enforcement agencies around the area and the FBI to conduct an investigation into what happened to Holloway and where Vanessa could be. The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Vanessa’s recovery.
Last week, investigators responded to a report of a discarded car seat found near BJ’s Wholesale Club in Derby, combing the area for any evidence in the case. Police have also ventured to Naugatuck on Dec. 10 in search of evidence.
Anyone with information about Vanessa’s whereabouts, or the activities of Jose Morales between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2, is asked to contact the FBI tipline at 203-503-5555 or the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885 or through Tip411.