The Murder of Christine Holloway

Christine Holloway, 43, was found beaten to death in her Ansonia, Connecticut, home on December 2, 2019. Her daughter, 1-year-old Vanessa Morales, was abducted from the home and is still missing. Christine’s boyfriend, Jose Morales, 43, is the father of Vanessa and has been charged with Christine’s murder.

The Day That Christine Holloway Went Missing

On December 2, 2019, at 12:52 p.m., a concerned employee contacted the Ansonia Police Department to request a welfare check on Christine Holloway because she had not shown up for work at the Bright Morning Star Daycare. Police arrived at Christine’s apartment at 1:00 p.m. They attempted to contact Christine but were unsuccessful. An officer took notice of a window that was cracked open near the bay window at the back of the 2nd-floor apartment.

Later that same day, at 7:36 p.m. Steven Holloway and his girlfriend, Jodi Jacobellis, went to the Ansonia Police Department to report their concern for Steven’s sister, Christine, and her one-year-old daughter, Vanessa. They provided her address and explained it was rare for Christine not to contact them, as they spoke and texted daily. The couple also told police the last time they saw Christine and Vanessa was on November 29, 2019. They explained Christine and Vanessa stayed at their home throughout the week but stayed with Christine’s boyfriend, Jose Morales, on the weekends.

Steven and Jodi told the police that Jodi went to Christine’s apartment at 3:00 p.m., after not hearing from Christine all day, but she did not answer. At 5:00 p.m., Steven and Jodi returned to Christine’s apartment. Christine still did not answer the door. The couple then drove to the home of Jose Morales, at 105 First Ave in New Haven, CT, to ask him about Christine and Vanessa. He stated the last time he had been in contact with Christine was that morning around 7:00 a.m. when Christine was leaving for work. He said he had been trying to get a hold of Christine throughout the day but could not reach her.

Jose Morales

The Discovery of Christine Holloway

On December 2, 2019, at around 8:15 p.m., police officers returned to Christine’s apartment. They noticed the skylight was open, along with several other windows. This did not align with what the earlier responding officer had noted. Officers questioned a neighbor regarding anyone coming or going from the apartment that day. The neighbor stated they had seen Jose Morales that afternoon. This contradicted what Morales had told detectives during the earlier telephone conversation. This also provided enough probable cause to justify forced entry into the apartment.

Police forced entry into the studio apartment. They saw the apartment was clean. However, when they entered the bathroom, they found the body of Christine Holloway naked in her bathtub. She had been deceased for several hours. She had obvious signs of a violent assault with excessive blunt force injuries to her head and torso. The medical examiner would later confirm this as Christine’s cause of death. In addition, Christine had strands of foreign hair in her hand. Police also discovered that Vanessa was not in the apartment.

Crime scene technicians began processing the scene and discovered that someone had attempted to clean the area. They detected blood was on the walls, floor, and items throughout the small apartment.

The Investigation into Christine Holloway’s Death

At approximately 3:40 a.m., on December 3, detectives went to Jose Morales residence. They spoke to him a bit before transporting him to the Ansonia Police Department for further questioning. During the exchange, Morales changed details of where he had been over the weekend, including that he had been at his friend Hector’s house. He repeatedly stated that he did not know where Christine and Vanessa were. Detectives took possession of the clothing that Jose was wearing. They noticed a very large bruise on his chest and various scratches in random places. They had already noticed his black eye and swollen cheek. Investigators took Jose into custody and sent to the New Haven Correctional Center pending further investigation.

Police spoke to Hector about Jose’s alibi, but he couldn’t remember exact details and they could not corroborate his story. He told police that Morales had called him on December 2 and asked him to say they were together for the entire weekend, should the police question him.

Vanessa Morales

On December 4, 2019, Mary Ann Tetteback, the facility director of Community Crusade for Children, contacted detectives in Hamden, CT. She told investigators several items that were donated appeared to have blood on them; the clothing was picked up at bins in St. Michael’s Church parking lot. Detectives arrived at the facility and took possession of the bags of items, which included several baby items, mail addressed to Christine Holloway, women’s clothing, a few men’s t-shirts, and a pair of Nike sneakers. All items appeared to have blood on them.

The crime lab determined that the blood and DNA evidence belonged to Christine and Jose. They noted was the blood evidence on the shoes belonged to Christine.

On December 17, 2019, detectives interviewed Jose Morales, who was being housed at the New Haven Correctional Center. Morales told them he had taken drugs (PCP) the weekend Christine and Vanessa had disappeared. He stated he didn’t believe that he would hurt either of them. Morales further explained that he had been using Christine’s bathroom in the middle of the night when he saw “guys” approaching her apartment from the bathroom window. He attempted to dial 911 to report a potential problem but was unsuccessful. He claimed he was hit in the head and knocked unconscious. The next thing that he remembered was driving back to his parent’s home in New Haven, the next day, on December 2, 2019.

Jose Morales is Arrested

Jose Morales was officially charged on February 7, 2020, with Murder and Tampering With Physical Evidence. There is a 26-page Arrest Warrant Application which goes into great depth during the initial discovery stage. Morales has a criminal record that includes domestic violence, narcotics, violating protective orders, and carrying a pistol without a permit.

The Search for Vanessa Morales

A nationwide search effort for Vanessa Morales began upon discovering her mother, Christine. At the time of her disappearance, Vanessa was 1-year-old at the time of her disappearance. She was 2’2″ tall and weighed 17 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Vanessa Morales Age Progressed to 2 Years Old

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to the person or persons who can lead authorities to the location of Vanessa Morales or turn her over to authorities. The FBI strongly encourages anyone with information to contact the FBI New Haven hotline at 203-503-5555. Contact the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885.

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