Wisconsin mother sent missing 3-year-old son to man's home 'for disciplinary reasons': prosecutors

ByAdam Rife, CNNWire
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Mom sent missing toddler to man's home for discipline: prosecutors
In the latest Elijah Vue update, prosecutors believe Katrina Baur sent the missing boy, last seen in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, to the home of Jesse Vang.

MANITOWOC, Wis. -- As the search continues for a missing 3-year-old Wisconsin boy, more details on the days leading up to his disappearance have been released, WDJT reported.

In court on Friday, prosecutors shed light on the reason 3-year-old Elijah Vue was in the Two Rivers community when he was last reported seen Tuesday, Feb. 20.

"She intentionally sent that child for disciplinary reasons for more than a week to the residence," Manitowoc County District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre said. "She was aware of the tactics used and the lack of care provided. This was an intentional thing by her."

LaBre believes Vue's mother, Katrina Baur, sent her son to the home of Jesse Vang, who used disciplinary "tactics" on the little boy. Baur lives in Wisconsin Dells, and investigators believe she sent her son to Vang's house for a week, and now they are both facing charges of child neglect.

The Vue family told us they have no idea how Katrina Baur and Jesse Vang knew each other, and the Vue family has not spoken with Baur in three years.

Vang, who recently served six years in prison for the distribution of methamphetamine, is the person prosecutors believe is responsible for the child's disappearance. Meanwhile, LaBre said in court that during interviews with police, Baur changed her story multiple times when asked where she was this last week so charges of contempt could be forthcoming.

Elijah's family read a court statement about why they believe Baur should not get cash bail.

"They are the last two to have seen our baby Elijah and, at this moment, are the prime suspects. So, until we find the truth as to the whereabouts of Elijah, we would like to make sure these two are readily available for questioning," a family member said.

The court commissioner acknowledged Elijah's disappearance cast a shadow over Friday's hearing. But the only charges brought forward to that point were the child neglect charges.

"That, of course, pulls at the court's feelings and emotions and heartstrings for the care of the child, but it doesn't change the nature of the charges from any other neglect case," Manitowoc County Judge Patricia Koppa said. "I suspect that as charging decisions are made, there could be other charges added."

Judge Koppa set bail for Baur at $15,000 and $20,000 for Vang.

Both are scheduled to be back in court Monday, Feb. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

Just down the road from the county courthouse, a small cinema was the headquarters for the community's first search party efforts in Manitowoc after searching for Elijah for two days in Two Rivers.

"We're going day by day, just really doing whatever we can, anything we can, with still a lot of hope to find him," Elijah's Aunt Sue Xiong said.

"You know, you see a lot of this on TV, you don't realize that it's truly a reality, and so to really see this is heartwarming. it's overwhelming, the support and love, it just really shows that there are good people out there and really here to help us find Elijah."

Law enforcement also ramped up its presence, though quietly, and a Two Rivers church was used as an expanded headquarters.

Another search party was organized for Saturday morning, to start at 9:30 a.m. at Neshotah Beach on the north end of Two Rivers. Police say Wings of Hope and NorthStar Rescue will be joining the search efforts on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Anyone with information on Eiljah's whereabouts is asked to contact police at 920-686-7200.

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