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2 Connecticut cities search for 1-year-old after mom beaten to death

ANSONIA, Conn. (WTIC/CNN) — Police in Connecticut are pursuing several leads but still haven’t found a 1-year-old who has been missing since Wednesday.

At noontime Friday, state police dogs searched the woods above the parking lot next to St. Michael’s Church in Derby, Connecticut, for evidence in connection to missing Vanessa Morales of Ansonia, Connecticut.

The girl’s father was arrested Tuesday on unrelated weapons charges. Jose Morales, 43, has been questioned in her disappearance and the beating death of her mother.

Resident have pitched in and done all they can to help bring Vanessa home.

Her cousin Josh Morales said, “We are concerned very much of how this happened and who could’ve done something very, very crazy to a 1-year-old.”

He and others among the folks in Derby and Ansonia passing out fliers with the baby’s photo on them..

Area resident Cassandra Brousseau, said, “It’s really sad. It’s terrible.”

She printed up 100 flyers on her own dime to spread the word. “It’s heartbreaking whether you know them or not. It’s not right, and she needs to be brought home.”

Ansonia and Derby police have been asking those who live on either Derby Avenue or New Haven Avenue for surveillance and Ring doorbell video.

Area resident Mwengo Kambeu said, “I actually called in the number when I saw through the camera police came over and hopefully when they go through it they’ll find what they’re looking for.”

Among those who picked up a flyer: a couple with a baby of their own. Area resident Aneek Dixon said, “I have my daughter and they don’t have their baby, and I was just really sad and I was just, like, it’s just really sad. It makes me appreciate my children.”