Grandmother of missing Elijah Vue begs court to not let her daughter out of jail

Katrina Baur is facing updated child neglect charges following the three-year-old’s disappearance

Dan Gooding
Thursday 07 March 2024 18:58 GMT
Grandmother of missing Wisconsin 3-year-old says his mother should not be released from jail

The grandmother of a missing three-year-old child in Wisconsin told a court that his mother - her daughter - should not be released from jail, saying she posed a “flight risk”.

Katrina Baur, 31, is now facing updated child neglect charges, following the disappearance of Elijah Vue from her boyfriend Jesse Vang’s home in Two Rivers over two weeks ago.

District Attorney Jacalyn LaBre asked for Ms Baur’s preliminary hearing, scheduled for Thursday, to be adjourned for a week after filing updated charges against her.

The charge of child neglect has been amended to chronic child neglect, while an additional child neglect charge was filed relating to a six-year-old child on 14 February.

Then, for the first time since Elijah disappeared, the public heard from the Baur family in a surprise statement from someone Ms LaBre introduced as Jodi Baur.

“I have known Katrina Baur longer than anyone else as I am her mother,” the statement began, before addressing the defendant’s plea to go free from jail.

“At this time, I am asking the court to deny any bond modification for a multitude of reasons,” her mother wrote.

Jodi Baur said the court did not have the whole picture of her daughter, adding that there were records in other states, including Nevada and California, which were not being taken into account.

“She has contacts in other states that may be willing to assist her depending on the story she is telling. Her story always depends on the audience,” the statement continued.

“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 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.

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

Elijah hasn’t been seen since he was reported missing in Two Rivers on 20 February.

Katrina Baur had sent him there to stay with her boyfriend Jesse Vang for “disciplinary reasons” around a week before his disappearance.

Mr Vang, 39, reported Elijah missing just before 11am on 20 February, after going for a nap three hours earlier and finding the child gone when he woke up. Local police arrested him later that day.

Elijah was reportedly subjected to lengthy time-outs, as Mr Vang sought to teach him “how to be a man”. He was also threatened with cold water if he misbehaved.

Ms Baur, from Wisconsin Dells, was arrested on 21 Feb. on suspicion of party-to-a-crime child neglect.

During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Robert Dewane heard from the DA that prosecutors also believe Elijah had been left alone by the two suspects before his disappearance on 16 February for at least an hour in the city of Manitowoc.

Ms LaBre also laid out details of the additional child neglect charge, when a six-year-old child in her care was allegedly left alone in a car for around an hour in temperatures around -2C (27F).

Ms Baur is also charged with two counts of obstruction, with the DA alleging that she had messaged Mr Vang telling him not to cooperate with law enforcement on 20 February.

Speaking from the Manitowoc County Jail, defence attorney Ann Larson argued that her client was not a flight risk and planned to stay in Wisconsin if she was released.

Judge Dewane denied Ms Baur’s plea to have her bond removed, saying that the $15,000 cash amount was set “right where it needs to be”.

Ms Baur and Mr Vang are now due back in court on 14 March.

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

Meanwhile, the search for Elijah continues around Two Rivers and the wider area.

Two Rivers Police Department, the FBI, state police, the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations, the Manitowoc Police Department, the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office and the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office have all been involved in the search for the little boy.

A large team of volunteers, some from many miles away, have also scoured the countryside, rivers and woodland in a desperate search for the three-year-old.

So far, there has been no official sighting of Elijah, who is of Hmong and white ethnicity, standing about three feet tall and has brown hair and brown eyes.

He has a birthmark on his left knee and may have been carrying a red-and-white plaid blanket.

There is a $10,000 reward for information which leads authorities to Elijah or the arrest of those responsible from Manitowoc County Crime Stoppers, while the FBI is also offering $15,000 for similar information.

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