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Elijah Vue update: Mother pleads not guilty to child neglect charges as search reaches fifth weekend

Authorities found Elijah Vue’s missing blanket four miles from his last known location

Katie Hawkinson,Dan Gooding
Saturday 23 March 2024 09:01 GMT
Elijah Vue’s family plead for help in finding him

Elijah Vue’s mother pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges in connection to the toddler’s disappearance.

Katrina Baur appeared briefly before Judge Robert Dewane, with her next court appearance now set over a month from now.

This comes after a brief court appearance on Thursday for her friend Jesse Vang, who was the last known person to see Elijah.

The toddler was last seen by Mr Vang on 20 February in Two Rivers, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Authorities say Ms Baur sent her son to live with Mr Vang for “disciplinary reasons,” where the boy was reportedly subjected to lengthy time-outs and threats of cold water if he misbehaved.

Now, it has emerged that Mr Vang was previously charged with human trafficking. The charges were later dropped.

Earlier this week, police found a blanket belonging to Elijah four miles from his last known location. There is a $40,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest. Officials describe Elijah as three feet tall, with brown hair and brown eyes — he is also of Hmong and white ethnicity.

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Searching for a 3-year-old

Over the past five weeks, locals have been asked to search outbuildings, vehicles and any other areas where Elijah may have become trapped or hidden, while police have utilised drones and search dogs as part of their efforts.

Woodland, landfill sites and storm drains have all be searched as part of the investigation.

Elijah has been described as around 3ft tall, with brown eyes and hair.

When he disappeared, he was wearing grey sweatpants, a dark-coloured long-sleeve shirt and red-and-green dinosaur slip-on shoes.

Dan Gooding23 March 2024 09:01
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Katrina Baur and Jesse Vang knew each other in 2015

We were given a glimpse into Elijah’s mother’s past earlier this week, after old allegations against Jesse Vang emerged.

WBAY reported of a “troubled past” for Mr Vang, Ms Baur and the boy’s biological father Jimmy Vue.

Court documents state that in November 2015 police were called out to a hotel in Appleton, Outagamie County. When they arrived, they found Ms Baur hiding in the bathroom after she got the hotel staff to call 911.

She then told officers that she had been sexually assaulted by two men, one of whom was Mr Vang.

Ms Baur then told officers that she was “their property” and she had been taken to Minnesota to perform sexual acts in exchange for compensation, which included drugs.

Two months later, Ms Baur told investigators that she no longer wanted them to pursue the alleged sexual assault charge.

Dan Gooding23 March 2024 07:15
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Elijah’s mother remains in jail

Following an arraignment hearing on Friday, Elijah’s mom Katrina Baur remains in jail.

She entered a not-guilty plea on the four charges against her, which include chronic child neglect.

(Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)

A previous attempt to have her bond dropped, so she could go free, was denied.

Her next court dealine is 26 April.

Dan Gooding23 March 2024 05:02
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Search enters fifth weekend

As temperatures in Two Rivers hover around freezing, law enforcement and volunteers are facing their fifth weekend searching for Elijah.

Other than news of his red-and-white blanket being discovered, there have been very few clues as to his whereabouts since 20 February.

Elijah seen with his blanket, later found 3.7 miles from Jesse Vang’s apartment (Two Rivers Police Department)
Dan Gooding23 March 2024 02:38
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What next for Jesse Vang?

Jesse Vang, the man who reported Elijah Vue missing on 20 February, is being held on a charge of chronic child neglect.

After appearing in court briefly on Thursday morning, the 39-year-old is next due in court for a preliminary hearing on 4 April.

(Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)

The delay came after the suspect found attorneys to take on his case. He had previously appeared without an attorney present, via video link from the Manitowoc County Jail.

Dan Gooding23 March 2024 01:05
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What counts as ‘chronic’ child neglect?

Both Katrina Baur and Jesse Vang were originally charged with child neglect, with Ms Baur’s having the added definition of party-to-a-crime.

Over the past few weeks, both have seen those alleged offences changed to “chronic child neglect”.

Under Wisconsin law, this means that a person who is meant to be caring for a child has committed three or more violations within a “specified period of time”.

If the child suffers serious bodily harm or becomes the victim of a sexual offence, this would count as a Class D felony. If the child should die a a result of that neglect, then this would become a Class B felony.

Right now, we do not know Elijah’s location and neither has been charged in relation to his disappearance.

Dan Gooding22 March 2024 23:50
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Elijah was bruised days before he vanished

In an updated criminal complaint for Jesse Vang earlier this week, new details emerged around the days leading up to Elijah’s disappearance.

According to the document, two photos were taken of the three-year-old, reportedly at Mr Vang’s home.

On 13 and 14 February, Katrina Baur had visited the Two Rivers apartment and took a photo of Elijah with a blindfold over his eyes and bruising on his face as he lay on a bed.

At this point, she had allegedly left a six-year-old girl, believed to be her daughter, outside in a cold car.

Another photo, taken on 15 February, showed the boy standing in a corner in his apparently full diaper and nothing else, with his hands in a praying position.

Dan Gooding22 March 2024 22:26
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Elijah’s mother next court hearing over a month away

At Friday’s brief hearing, Judge Robert Dewane scheduled Katrina Baur’s next hearing for 26 April.

She is currently scheduled to appear for “further proceedings” at 8.30am at the Manitowoc County Court.

Dan Gooding22 March 2024 21:14
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Katrina Baur pleads not guilty

In an extremely brief hearing, Katrina Baur pleaded not guilty to the four charges against her.

They are: chronic child neglect, child neglect and two counts of restricting or obstructing an officer.

The hearing lasted for less than three minutes.

Dan Gooding22 March 2024 21:05
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Hearing about to begin

Katrina Baur has appeared on-screen from the Manitowoc County Jail for her hearing with Judge Robert Dewane.

Dan Gooding22 March 2024 21:02

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