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Search for missing 3-year-old sent to stay with man ‘for disciplinary reasons’ continues

Elijah Vue was last seen Tuesday morning and was the subject of an intense search in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
/ Source: NBC News

An intensive search is underway for a missing 3-year-old Wisconsin boy who a district attorney alleged was sent to stay with a man “for disciplinary reasons.”

Manitowoc County District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre made the allegation in court Friday in reference to the disappearance of Elijah Vue, who was last seen Tuesday.

LaBre referred Vue’s mother, Katrina Baur, 31, and the man her son was allegedly sent to stay with, Jesse Vang, 39, for charges of child neglect.

Baur and Vang made brief, separate appearances in court on Monday. Baur is charged with party to the crime of neglecting a child and two counts of obstructing an officer. Vang is charged with child neglect, prosecutors said. Preliminary hearings were scheduled for the defendants for March 7.

LaBre’s remarks in court and information from police shed some light on the disappearance of the 3-foot, 50-pound boy with sandy blond hair and Hmong heritage.

Elijah Vue.
Elijah Vue.Two Rivers Police Department

Police said in a statement that someone who claimed to be Elijah’s “adult care taker” called authorities shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday to report that Elijah was missing from a residence in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and was last seen there about 8 a.m.

A massive search was launched, and a statewide Amber Alert was issued, they said.

During the detention and bail hearing, LaBre said Baur “intentionally sent that child for disciplinary reasons for more than a week to the residence. She was aware of the tactics used and the lack of care provided. This was an intentional thing by her.”

She was being held on $15,000 cash bail and Vang was being held on $20,000 cash bail, prosecutors said.

The hearing Friday was covered by NBC affiliates WTMJ of Milwaukee and WGBA of Green Bay. LaBre, the prosecutor, confirmed by email to NBC News that she made the remarks alleging Baur sent Elijah to stay with Vang as discipline.

LaBre also alleged Baur was not honest with police investigating Elijah’s disappearance. She said he was last in the care of Vang. The nature of the relationship between Baur and Vang was unclear.

A state public defender assigned to the case did not immediately respond to a request to comment on both defendants’ behalf.

Baur and Vang remained behind bars Monday, according to Manitowoc County Jail records.

It’s not clear when they were booked. An affidavit in support of Baur’s arrest was filed in court Thursday, according to remarks made during Friday’s hearing.

Investigators have not said what they believe has happened to Elijah. They are searching on the ground and in the air using state, local and federal resources.

“Since the moment Elijah was reported missing, our law enforcement from local, state and federal agencies, along with dedicated volunteers and community members, have been working tirelessly around the clock to search every inch of our city and beyond,” Two Rivers Police Chief Benjamin Meinnert said at a news conference Wednesday.

He urged residents to check the grounds of their homes for the boy and report any sightings or clues to authorities.

Two Rivers police said in a statement Sunday that the Green Bay police dive team helped with the search.

“Our search efforts continued throughout last night and will continue today on our city rivers,” the police department said.

Two Rivers is a city of roughly 11,000 on Lake Michigan, about 90 miles north of Milwaukee.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.