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New claims of abuse against missing Elijah Vue, 3, emerge as mother’s friend due in court

A three-year-old Wisconsin boy was reportedly pictured wearing a blindfold and with bruises on his face just days before he was reported missing a month ago.

An updated criminal complaint against the man Elijah Vue was staying with, Jesse Vang, was published on Wednesday, a day before the 39-year-old is due in court charged with chronic neglect of a child.

Elijah’s mother Katrina Baur says she sent him to stay with Mr Vang on 12 February, around a 2.5 hour drive from their Wisconsin Dells home, in Two Rivers.

What allegedly followed was a series of “disciplinary” tactics to address what Ms Baur felt was Elijah’s bad behaviour, including lengthy time-outs and requirements to pray or repeatedly say he was “sorry mommy”.

In the updated complaint, seen by The Independent, new messages between Ms Baur and Mr Vang show discussions around disciplining the boy and the times he was left without anyone caring for him.

“I told you to trust me… I’m a make sure he hates me and being here,” Mr Vang reportedly told the mother on 18 February. She responded: “Don’t want him to *hate* YOU. Just fear you.”

However, Mr Vang reportedly told Ms Baur not to worry and said that someone “had to be the bad person”.

“I know but either way he can fear you and respect you,” Ms Baur replied, with Mr Vang responding that Elijah did fear him, “but he didn’t respect me... now I’m making him respect me.”

 (FB/Two Rivers Police Department)
(FB/Two Rivers Police Department)

The complaint also says that a few days before, on 13 and 14 February, Ms 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.

The images are part of newly-revealed communications between the pair, along with cell phone tracking data showing the moments they met in between their two homes in the City of Manitowoc.

At one point, on 16 and 17 February, Elijah was reportedly left behind while the couple met and travelled to a bar and gas station. Law enforcement said they had found no record of anyone else caring for him at the time.

The updated complaint comes a day before Mr Vang is due back in court, as well as on the one month mark of Elijah being reported missing.

Mr Vang told Two Rivers Police Department that he had gone for a nap on the morning of 20 February and that Elijah was gone when he woke up.

A vast search effort has been underway in the town, as well as the surrounding area, with the only sign of Elijah coming in the form of his red-and-white plaid blanket, confirmed as his on Monday.