A 1-year-old girl has been reported missing from her Connecticut home — where her mother was found dead in what authorities are probing as a homicide, according to police and a new report.
The tot, Venessa Morales, should have been inside the Ansonia home where her mother’s lifeless body was discovered Monday, but she was nowhere to be found, local authorities said. Police believe she may be in danger.
Authorities first responded to the Myrtle Avenue home just before 1 p.m. Monday for a welfare check after Venessa’s mother did not show up for work or call in sick, authorities said at a Tuesday press conference, according to the Connecticut Post.
An officer went to the home and tried to make contact, but there was no answer, police said.
Authorities conducted a second welfare check at 7:30 p.m. that day, and ultimately forced their way inside.
They found the body of the woman, whose name has not been released pending formal identification by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Wednesday morning.
Police Chief Andrew Cota III confirmed to the Connecticut Post that the woman was Venessa’s mother and that “she did not die of natural causes.”
The FBI has joined with local authorities to investigate both the suspicious death and Venessa’s disappearance.
“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 at the press conference. “Our main focus at the moment is finding Venessa Morales and making sure she’s safe.”
Police said they do not have a suspect but are following several leads.
The child’s father, who occasionally stayed at the home but did not live there, has been cooperating with the investigation, according to Lynch.
“When I heard this little girl was missing, I told [the police chief] to use all the resources he needs — state police, the feds — everything. I want this baby found,” Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti told the local paper. “That is paramount. That has to be the focus.”
Venessa is described as 2 feet 2 and 17 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.