FBI offers new reward for news of missing Elijah Vue, 3, who went missing in Wisconsin

Elijah Vue was reportedly subjected to ‘time outs’ and the threat of cold showers before his disappearance in Two Rivers

Dan Gooding,Michelle Del Rey
Tuesday 27 February 2024 23:57 GMT
Elijah Vue, 3, was last seen in Two Rivers Wisconsin on 20 February 2024
Elijah Vue, 3, was last seen in Two Rivers Wisconsin on 20 February 2024 (Two Rivers Police Department)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the location and return of Elijah Vue, a three-year-old boy who went missing in Wisconsin earlier this month.

The child vanished in Two Rivers, on the shore of Lake Michigan, on Tuesday 20 February.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Two Rivers Chief of Police Ben Meinnert did not directly answer questions about whether he thought the child was still alive but said that officers would continue to search for him.

Meanwhile, a female relative of the toddler pleaded with the public to come forward with any information that might bring him back home.

“Your courage, your compassion, your willingness to speak up may hold the key to Elijah’s safe return”.

The toddler had been sent to stay with his mother’s boyfriend, Jesse Vang, who reported the boy missing at just before 11am, three hours after he said he last saw Elijah.

Mr Vang, 39, had gone for a nap after giving Elijah breakfast. He reportedly told police officers that he did not change the boy’s diaper and told him to stand at the foot of the bed and pray while he slept.

Two Rivers Police Department arrested Mr Vang later that day, before also detaining the boy’s mother the following day.

Katrina Baur, 31, reportedly sent Elijah to stay in Two Rivers - some 150 miles from their Wisconsin Dells home - for “disciplinary reasons”.

Following their arrests, court documents seen on Monday expanded on that, showing Elijah had been forced to stand for hours during “time outs” and was told to pray, while he was also threatened with cold water if he didn’t behave.

The pair were both charged with child neglect, with Ms Baur also facing two charges of obstruction after she repeatedly changed her story around her whereabouts.

Mr Vang has a history of other criminal offences, including child abuse, according to court records seen by The Independent.

A community rallies to help

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, as well as dive teams and dozens of local volunteers have spent the past week looking for the little boy.

The Two Rivers community has spent the past week desperately searching for Elijah Vue (FB/Two Rivers Police Department)

Officers believe he may have been carrying his favourite red and white plaid blanket, and have asked locals to keep an eye out for this as well as the red-and-green dinosaur slip-on shoes he was wearing.

Elijah, who weighs around 45 pounds, was also wearing grey pants and a dark-coloured long-sleeve shirt at the time of his disappearance. He is of Hmong and white ethnicity, about three feet tall and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Two Rivers is a small town of around 11,000 people, with the search area extending out into nearby woods and countryside, as well as a landfill site. Drones and K-9 teams have also been involved in the effort.

The town’s police department said on Monday afternoon that it had been inundated with offers of donations, but warned of scammers who had also been trying to cash in on people’s good nature.

“We have become aware of third-party scams seeking money or personal information from those helping to find Elijah,” Chief Meinnert said in a post on Facebook. “Donations should only go through Two Rivers City Hall or Police Department, or reliable sources dedicated to the efforts of Elijah’s family.

“We are also aware of fraudulent individuals seeking money or information while organising search parties and others simply looking to take advantage of this tragedy.”

The Vue family have been heavily involved in the search for the little boy, telling local media that they have not had any contact with him for much of his life. His father is reportedly serving time in prison and will not be released for several years.

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