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Search underway for missing 3-year-old Wisconsin boy as mother, man face neglect charges

In World
February 26, 2024

An intensive search is underway for a missing 3-year-old Wisconsin boy who a district attorney alleged was sent to stay with a man “for disciplinary reasons.”

Manitowoc County District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre made the allegation in court Friday in reference to the disappearance of Elijah Vue, who was last seen Tuesday.

LaBre referred Vue’s mother, Katrina Baur, 31, and the man her son was allegedly sent to stay with, Jesse Vang, 39, for charges of child neglect.

Charges have not been formally filed, and documents in the case were sealed, but LaBre’s remarks in court and information from police shed some light on the disappearance of the 3-foot, 50-pound boy with sandy blond hair and Hmong heritage.

Elijah Vue. (Two Rivers police Department)

Elijah Vue. (Two Rivers police Department)

Police said in a statement that someone who claimed to be Elijah’s “adult care taker” called authorities shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday to report that Elijah was missing from a residence in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and was last seen there about 8 a.m.

A massive search was launched, and a statewide Amber Alert was issued, they said.

During the detention and bail hearing, LaBre said Baur “intentionally sent that child for disciplinary reasons for more than a week to the residence. She was aware of the tactics used and the lack of care provided. This was an intentional thing by her.”

The hearing Friday was covered by NBC affiliates WTMJ of Milwaukee and WGBA of Green Bay. LaBre, the prosecutor, confirmed by email to NBC News that she made the remarks alleging Baur sent Elijah to stay with Vang as discipline.

LaBre also alleged Baur was not honest with police investigating Elijah’s disappearance. She said he was last in the care of Vang. The nature of the relationship between Baur and Vang was unclear.

A state public defender assigned to the case did not immediately respond to a request to comment on both defendants’ behalf.

Baur and Vang remained behind bars Sunday night, according to Manitowoc County Jail records. They were due in court Monday afternoon.

It’s not clear when they were booked. An affidavit in support of Baur’s arrest was filed in court Thursday, according to remarks made during Friday’s hearing.

Investigators have not said what they believe has happened to Elijah. They are searching on the ground and in the air using state, local and federal resources.

“Since the moment Elijah was reported missing, our law enforcement from local, state and federal agencies, along with dedicated volunteers and community members, have been working tirelessly around the clock to search every inch of our city and beyond,” Two Rivers Police Chief Benjamin Meinnert said at a news conference Wednesday.

He urged residents to check the grounds of their homes for the boy and report any sightings or clues to authorities.

Two Rivers police said in a statement Sunday that the Green Bay police dive team helped with the search.

“Our search efforts continued throughout last night and will continue today on our city rivers,” the police department said.

Two Rivers is a city of roughly 11,000 on Lake Michigan, about 90 miles north of Milwaukee.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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