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

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.

Key Points

  • Elijah’s mother pleaded not guilty to child neglect charges

  • Jesse Vang’s preliminary trial adjourned to April 4

  • New claims of abuse against Elijah emerged on Wednesday

  • A mother sent her three-year-old boy away to ‘learn to be a man.’ Now he’s missing

  • Red-and-white blanket was last known clue

Elijah’s mother next court hearing over a month away

21:14 , Dan Gooding

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.

Katrina Baur pleads not guilty

21:05 , Dan Gooding

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.

Hearing about to begin

21:02 , Dan Gooding

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

Katrina Baur due in court shortly

20:50 , Dan Gooding

Elijah’s mother, Katrina Baur, is due to appear in court for her arraignment hearing shortly.

She was scheduled for a 4pm local time hearing at the Manitowoc County Court.

Katrina Baur, 31, allegedly sent her son Elijah to Two Rivers to be disciplined by Jesse Vang (Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)
Katrina Baur, 31, allegedly sent her son Elijah to Two Rivers to be disciplined by Jesse Vang (Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)

Suspects were arrested just over a month ago

19:32 , Dan Gooding

Following Jesse Vang’s court appearance on Thursday and Katrina Baur’s upcoming appearance later today, let’s take a quick look at the timeline leading up to today.

20 February – Searches for Elijah get underway, while Jesse Vang is arrested on suspicion of child neglect that evening.

21 February – Katrina Baur is arrested on suspicion of being party-to-a-crime child neglect.

26 February – Two Rivers Police Department confirm they are searching a local landfill site as part of the investigation. Ms Baur and Mr Vang appear in court, with the mother receiving two additional charges of obstruction. The details of Mr Vang’s tactics emerge in court documents.

7 March - The two suspects appear in court, with updated charges announced for Ms Baur. A statement from her mother is read out, asking for the judge not to let her daughter out of jail.

14 March - A judge rules that Ms Baur will go to trial. Mr Vang has requested a speedy trial and an attorney. Ms Baur’s arraignment is scheduled for 22 March.

Timeline of disappearance and search for missing Wisconsin three-year-old

The face of a little boy missing for over a month

18:26 , Dan Gooding

It’s been over a month now since Elijah Vue was reported missing, with only a handful of photos available of the 3-year-old.

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

Scheduled searches for Elijah called off

18:08 , Dan Gooding

Volunteer search efforts for Elijah have been called off Friday, as a snowstorm hits the area.

WBAY reports that the events, run by Elijahs relatives, are expected to resume on Satuday.

What charges does Elijah’s mother face?

17:18 , Dan Gooding

When Katrina Baur appears in court this afternoon, she’ll be asked to enter pleas on four charges.

The first is a count of chronic child neglect, in relation to Elijah. She also faces a charge of child neglect in relation to her six-year-old daughter.

The other two charges are that of resisting or obstructing an officer. Those came after she reportedly changed her story as to her whereabouts in the days around Elijah’s disappearance.

When Ms Baur is due to appear at the Manitowoc County Court at 4pm local time.

FBI offers reward for information

16:30 , Dan Gooding

The FBI has been involved in the search for Elijah and has offered a $15,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.

This is on top of a $25,000 reward for information from Manitowoc County Crime Stoppers.

Pictured: The man Elijah was staying with

15:25 , Dan Gooding

Jesse Vang is being held on a charge of chronic child neglect (Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)
Jesse Vang is being held on a charge of chronic child neglect (Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)

The 3-year-old was staying with Jesse Vang, 39, at his home in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Mr Vang is being held at the Manitowoc County Jail.

What has Elijah’s family said?

14:13 , Dan Gooding

We haven’t heard from Elijah’s relatives in a few weeks, but at an emotional press conference at the start of the month, his grandmother and aunt pleaded for help.

Elijah’s grandmother wept as she thanked everyone who had helped with the search so far, while his aunt begged his mother, Katrina Baur, and her friend, Jesse Vang, for information on where the boy was.

“Every day without him feels like a piece of our hearts is missing,” Linda Vue said. “We long to hear his laughter, to witness his curiosity and to feel the warmth of his embrace.

“The emptiness left in his absence is a void that cannot be filled by anything else.”

Amber alert still active for Elijah

13:21 , Dan Gooding

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children still has its Amber Alert out for Elijah. He is one of only two national alerts in effect.

An Amber Alert was issued for Elijah Vue the day he disappeared, 20 February 2024 (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
An Amber Alert was issued for Elijah Vue the day he disappeared, 20 February 2024 (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

What can we expect at Katrina Baur’s arraignment hearing?

09:21 , Dan Gooding

Elijah Vue’s mother is due to appear before Judge Robert Dewane once more at 4pm today for her arraignment hearing.

This means she will be formally charged with the four counts against her and will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

It is not clear how long the hearing at the Manitowoc County Court will take, but it has been placed at the end of the day when court sessions are usually wrapping up.

After today, it could be between 60 and 90 days for the next court appearance, unless other charges are brought.

Jesse Vang will return to court next month

07:00 , Dan Gooding

The last person to reportedly see Elijah, Jesse Vang, appeared in court on Thursday morning.

The schedule preliminary hearing was adjourned after only a few minutes, following a request by Mr Vang’s new attorneys.

As they could not be in court in person and need time to get up-to-speed with the case, Judge Robert Dewane granted the adjournment until 4 April at 11am.

Mr Vang remains in custody.

Elijah’s mother due in court today

04:21 , Dan Gooding

Katrina Baur, 31, is due back in court today (Friday) for her arraignment hearing on charges of chronic child neglect and obstruction.

 (Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)
(Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office)

The hearing is scheduled for 4pm local time at the Manitowoc County Courthouse with Judge Robert Dewane.

Ms Baur is charged with chronic neglect of a child, neglecting a child and two counts of restriting or obstructing an officer.

At a previous hearing, the court heard a statement from Ms Baur’s mother, Jodi Baur, who asked the court not to honour a request to lower the suspect’s bond of $15,000.

“At this time, rather than aligning in locating her son, she feels the need to reiterate what a good guy Jesse is and is fully defending him and his actions,” Jodi Baur said.

The grandmother alleged that by aligning herself with Mr Vang’s family, her daughter had potential access to his extended family and they could help her flee the area.

The grandmother said Ms Baur had cut ties with her family in October 2022 and that she had a history of erratic behaviour.

“I don’t feel it’s worth the risk to lower her bond, especially as [Elijah] has not been found and many questions remain unanswered,” the statement continued.

Red-and-white blanket was last known clue

02:05 , Dan Gooding

Earlier this week, Two Rivers Police Department said it had positively identified a blanket found earlier in its investigation as belonging to Elijah.

The update, posted on Monday, was the last real update on the search for the 3-year-old.

When the initial missing persons report was issued, the plaid blanket was highlighted as an object Elijah might have been carrying.

Police say Elijah Vue may have been carrying this blanket when he disappeared on 20 February 2024 (Two Rivers Police Department)
Police say Elijah Vue may have been carrying this blanket when he disappeared on 20 February 2024 (Two Rivers Police Department)

Read the full story here.

Elijah was subjected to “disciplinary” tactics

00:21 , Dan Gooding

Elijah Vue, 3, was last seen in Two Rivers Wisconsin on 20 February 2024 (Two Rivers Police Department)
Elijah Vue, 3, was last seen in Two Rivers Wisconsin on 20 February 2024 (Two Rivers Police Department)

Elijah Vue’s mother Katrina Baur sent him to stay with Jesse Vang on 12 February, so that he could teach the little boy how to “be a man”.

While he stayed with Mr Vang, Elijah was subjected to time-outs lasting between one and three hours, where he had to remain standing.

At times he was told to pray, or to repeatedly say “sorry mommy”, according to statements given to police by Mr Vang.

On the morning he disappeared, Elijah had been told by Mr Vang to stand at the foot of his bed while the man took a nap at around 8am. When Mr Vang woke up, Elijah was gone and he has not been seen since.

Questions remain around seized car

Thursday 21 March 2024 22:50 , Dan Gooding

Earlier in March, Two Rivers Police Department issued a plea for help in piecing together the movements of a vehicle connected with the case.

TRPD released images of the beige 1997 Nissan Altima, saying it wanted help in working out the car’s path the day before Elijah was reported missing.

Since then, the vehicle has not been mentioned by the department in its updates on Facebook.

Read the story here:

Elijah Vue: Police release new photos of car in connection to boy’s disappearance

Where did Elijah Vue go missing?

Thursday 21 March 2024 21:15 , Dan Gooding

Elijah disappeared from Jesse Vang’s home in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

The small town sits on the shore of Lake Michigan, with the closest city being Manitowoc.

The little boy was staying around 150 miles from his home in Wisconsin Dells, making it around a 2.5 hour drive away.

Two Rivers is home to around 11,000 people and its police department has been leading the search for Elijah.

The text messages between Elijah’s mum and her friend

Thursday 21 March 2024 20:00 , Dan Gooding

An updated criminal complaint on Wednesday gave us new details on messages between Katrina Baur and Jesse Vang, where they discussed disciplining Elijah.

“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” in the situation.

“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.”

Their messages also included photos of Elijah with bruising on his face and wearing a blindfold, as well as standing in a corner in a full diaper, his hands in a praying position.

You can read more here.

Elijah’s mother knew Jesse Vang in 2015

Thursday 21 March 2024 18:41 , Dan Gooding

Reports in local media have outlined an apparent relationship between Katrina Baur and Jesse Vang dating back to late-2015.

WBAY reports of a “troubled past” for Mr Vang, Elijah’s mother Katrina 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.

Charges of human trafficking were later dropped, NBC 26 reported.

Read the full story here:

Last person known to see Elijah Vue faced human trafficking charges in 2015

Search for Elijah passes one month mark

Thursday 21 March 2024 18:05 , Dan Gooding

The search for Elijah Vue passed one month on Wednesday, with law enforcement and volunteers continuing to look for him.

Here is a timeline of events so far:

Timeline of disappearance and search for missing Wisconsin three-year-old

Police have urged searchers not to trespass

Thursday 21 March 2024 17:11 , Daniel Gooding

The last update on the search from Two Rivers Police Department came on Monday 18 March.

The department urged those trying to help find Elijah to be “respectful of private property” after some reports of individuals trespassing on private land.

“Law Enforcement has already thoroughly searched many areas of interest on private land with the permission of property owners,” the post read. “Please continue to search your own properties if you haven't done so and encourage others to do the same.”

Who is Jesse Vang?

Thursday 21 March 2024 16:40 , Katie Hawkinson

Jesse Vang, a friend of Elijah Vue’s mother, was the last person to see the three-year-old alive.

Elijah’s mother, Katrina Baur, sent her son to Mr Vang’s home on 12 February. 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”.

Mr Vang reported Elijah missing on 20 February. He told police he had taken a nap that morning, and when he woke up, the three-year-old was gone.

He is now facing charges of chronic child neglect.

WATCH: Elijah Vue’s family plead for help in finding him

Thursday 21 March 2024 16:20 , Katie Hawkinson

A mother sent her three-year-old boy away to ‘learn to be a man.’ Now he’s missing

Thursday 21 March 2024 16:00 , Dan Gooding

An Amber Alert went out in the Wisconsin town of Two Rivers warning that a little boy had gone missing and police needed the community’s help.

A month on from the 20 February alert, the town is still searching for Elijah Vue, while his mother and her boyfriend are in jail, facing child neglect charges.

Here’s everything we know so far about the case:

What we know about three-year-old Elijah Vue’s disappearance

Court adjourned to 4 April

Thursday 21 March 2024 15:38 , Katie Hawkinson

The preliminary hearing for Jesse Vang, the last person to see Elijah Vue, lasted just moments on Thursday afternoon before they adjourned.

Given Mr Vang had been assigned new attorneys who were unable to appear in person this Thursday, the hearing will be postponed to 4 April, the judge said.

Court hearing begins for Jesse Vang

Thursday 21 March 2024 15:34 , Katie Hawkinson

Jesse Vang is currently appearing in court for a preliminary hearing via Zoom.

Updates to follow.

Missing Elijah Vue’s red and white blanket found four miles from last known location

Thursday 21 March 2024 15:20 , Dan Gooding

A red and white plaid blanket belonging to missing Wisconsin boy Elijah Vue has been found just under four miles from where he was reported missing nearly a month ago.

Two Rivers Police Department said on Monday that officers had identified the blanket, which was found on Goodwin Road, east of County Road B in Manitowoc County, earlier in the investigation.

Read more ahead of Jesse Vang’s court appearance this afternoon, scheduled to begin within minutes:

Missing Elijah Vue’s red-and-white blanket found 4 miles from last known location

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

Thursday 21 March 2024 15:00 , Dan Gooding

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.”

Read more on the updated complaint, reviewed by The Independent:

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

Court set to begin in one hour for last person to see Elijah Vue

Thursday 21 March 2024 14:42 , Katie Hawkinson

The trial for Jesse Vang, the last known person to see Elijah Vue, will resume today in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin in less than an hour.

An updated criminal complaint published yesterday revealed Elijah was allegedly pictured wearing a blindfold with bruises on his face just days before going missing. Police say Elijah’s mother, Katrina Baur, told them she sent Elijah to stay with Mr Vang on 12 February. There, police say Elijah was subjected to “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.”