That’s exactly what the family of Baby Vincent wants to know, or at least one side of the baby’s family appears concerned about locating the toddler, who’s been missing since early July.
The Moores, the family of Vincent’s father, have been aggressively keeping the missing toddler in the public’s eye. However, they’re concerned their desire to find Baby Vincent is not shared by the Wichita Police Department.
Who is Baby Vincent?
Five month old Vincent didn’t get the best start in life. His young parents weren’t very stable and they would often struggle and fight. He was the third child born to his 19-year-old Hispanic mother Michelle Mendez. By age 15 she was a runaway, a victim of human trafficking and had a pending prostitution charge. Vincent has an older full-brother Zander, age 2, and in between them was another half-brother. She reportedly abused drugs, but for certain, her cell number was recently tied to online listings for a “Puerto Rican Seduction, under the heading “escorts.” She didn’t have a stable place of residency, but she listed her permanent address as her fathers, who is a convicted child molester.
Vincent’s father, Gary Moore, Jr., wasn’t a saint either, says his grandmother Linda Hodges. The 24-year-old had some minor criminal incidences when he was younger, but his most recent interactions with the police involved charges of battery resulting from fights and arguments with Michelle. In 2014, he pleaded guilty to three counts of battery and was placed on probation. Up until June, he held down a job and seemed to be a person of reasonably sound judgement, except when it came to Michelle. In the midst of their troubled on-and-off relationship, the couple had managed to get married in February 2015, even though they weren’t currently “together.”
He say, She Say, They Say
Their stories don’t match up when it comes to occurrences involving Vincent in June and July. In the early days of June 2015, Vincent agreed to keep the children and Michelle dropped them off. By June 8 Vincent had cut his electronic monitoring bracelet and left for Texas with Vincent and his brother Zander, friend Shanova Cotton and her child. All five returned to Wichita in early July. During this time, Michelle says she called Gary many times trying to get the children back.
Baby Vincent was last seen on July 11. The last person police have “confirmed” him with was Gary. The facts are, Gary and Shanova are staying at a house near 31st and Hydraulic. He wakes Shanova up and asks to use her truck to take Vincent to Michelle. He says he met Michelle and gave her Bbaby Vincent. Michelle denies it ever happened.
Gary Moore has been the primary police suspect, since he was the last person they can confirm Vincent being with, but the Moore family isn’t pleased with that approach. Most of all they’re not pleased with what they see as the Police Department’s lack of action in the case. Their list of grievances are many.
They say Gary Moore registered complaints about Michelle’s drug use, loose lifestyle and lack of stability to DCF. If action had been taken on those complaints, none of this would have happened. Gary and the boys – often including their half brother – spent considerable time living with members of the Moore family. They were disappointed when Gary returned the boys to their mother in May.
They say the police have not aggressively looked for Vincent in, our outside, Wichita. The police did conduct a search of a field near K-15 and 55th St. S. Other than that, they say the police have failed to look extensively at others they consider serious suspects, including: Vincent’s mother Michelle; her father Edgardo Mendez, a convicted child molester who had unmonitored access to the toddle; and Michelle’s mother, who moved to Florida shortly after Vincent disappeared.
“We’ve done more looking than they have,” said Linda Hodges, Vincent’s paternal grandmother. “Every bit of information we turn up, we share it with them and they turn it against us.”
Although the police told the media as recent as late October that they are actively looking for Baby Vincent. However, in a meeting with the family, community activist Mary Dean and Atty. Sandrine Lisk they told the family they’re no longer looking for Vincent.
The family is also disappointed Vincent wasn’t placed on the National Missing Children’s list until Sept. 30 , that an Amber alert was never issued, and that the FBI has never been brought in on the case.
The family is crushed by what they perceive as the insensitivity and lack of transparency of the WPD, which lead to them finding out the police consider Vincent dead from a court document. You can imagine how the family felt when they showed up for the termination of rights hearing, were handed the petition filed in the court and read ,”there is clear and convincing evidence that Vincent is deceased.” “If they could share this information with everyone else, why couldn’t they share it with the family, in a more sensitive manner,” said Dean, the community activist.
Moores Keeping Search Alive
So far the Mendez family hasn’t joined in the Moore’s efforts to find Vincent. Shortly after they learned Vincent was missing, the Moores launched a public campaign to find him. They printed flyers, placed them in businesses, on polls, and on car windows. They even offered a $1,000 of their own money and added it to the $2500 Crime Stopper Reward. They’ve held candlelight vigils, started a “Help Us Find Baby Vincent” Facebook page where they regularly post updates, and they even conducted their own search along and in the Arkansas River at 21st Street. That’s near the home of Michelle’s father.
We just want to keep it in the public eye, said Hodges. “We don’t like the way we’re being treated, but the bottom line is, we still have a missing baby.”
“If there’s clear and overwhelming evidence this baby is deceased, why hasn’t someone been charged,” says Hodges.
Michelle has been interviewed by the police several time, agreed to take a polygraph and according to the police passed it. Gary remains in jail for violation of his probation. His bond is set at $1.3 million. He has a pending charge for unlawful tampering with an electronic monitoring device. He, nor anyone else, has not been charged for the murder of Vincent.