Police declare death of missing Elkhart mother a homicide

NOW: Police declare death of missing Elkhart mother a homicide

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Police declare the death of a missing Elkhart County mother a homicide.

Alexis Morales and her five-month-old son Messiah went missing last Tuesday. The search coming to a sad end last night when officers found the pair inside their silver BMW on South Bend’s west side.

The baby made it out alive, but his mom wasn’t so lucky.

The South Bend Police Department still hasn’t identified any suspects in this case.

But, did confirm Wednesday, the investigation is now being taken over by the Violent Crimes Unit and treated as a homicide.

“Alexis Morales and her five-month-old son were enjoying a nice evening at Kelly Park before they went missing. They were last seen in a silver 2006 BMW X5 with an Indiana license plate with these letters," said a TikTok user.

Those letters led the South Bend Police Department to this alley near North Bendix Drive and South Kaley Street- on the city’s west side Tuesday. Officers called out just after 6 pm for a suspicious vehicle matching Alexis’ license plate.

“We checked it out and we did find Alexis’ vehicle. We found Alexis deceased. The baby was taken to Memorial Hospital. Baby Messiah right now is still at the hospital with family," said Scott Ruszkowski, Chief for SBPD.

The infant is now recovering from possible hypothermia.

Although he is safe family, friends and neighbors involved in the search say this is a devastating outcome.

“We felt helpless just sitting here and people heal at their own rate and so whatever they need from us that’s what we’re gonna do," said Tom Ducheteau, Employer of Alexis' mother and brothers

The pair’s disappearance has sparked a large social media following with many questioning why it took several days for a Silver Alert to be declared.

Lieutenant Kayla Miller says specific criteria needed to be met before Indiana State Police could finally issue the advisory on Monday.

“Whether that be medical condition, foul play, concerns again for that well-being and safety. There’s time where requests can be sent to Indiana State Police for a Silver Alert to be issued and it be denied. Further information has to be obtained to further develop and provide that concern for wellbeing and safety," said Miller.

It’s unclear if ISP denied the initial request, but SBPD says it got involved the same day the alert was issued.

Officers are still working to find out how long Alexis and Messiah were in the car, but confirm no one alerted them about the vehicle until Tuesday.

“When people say oh, we called the police, and they didn’t do anything that is absolutely not true. Oh, we called in before and the police didn’t even come out that is not true, absolutely not true," said Ruszkowski.

An autopsy is scheduled for Alexis this Friday.

If you have any information you are encouraged to contact the South Bend Police Department- or Crime Stoppers at (574)-288-STOP.

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