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 Facebook pic shows Celis household continuing to hope for Isabel's return

1 year ago

Isabel Celis now missing 6 months and still no answers

Tucson- It has been six months since Isabel Celis disappeared from her east side home. Her seventh birthday has come and gone and still no sign of her.

Her parents told investigators they last saw her before she went to bed on Friday, April 20th and reported her missing the next morning. A massive search ensued, one that made national headlines.

Tucson police reported receiving more than 1,000 tips but all came up empty.

As the months have gone by Rebecca and Sergio Celis continue to struggle with not knowing what happened to their daughter.

At this point they admit they have grown very frustrated with the investigation, one that has even cast suspicion over Sergio Celis. "I can't understand at the six month point how they have absolutely nothing, to have nothing, and if it was me, why wouldn't they have me gone already, I'm not afraid to say that", Celis said, "Even Becky (Rebecca Celis) says it to everyone, c'mon, when are we going to move on this, digging in the same hole. Can we get out there, because she is not here, in the first three days of the investigation of staying here, she's not here, she hasn't been here since the moment she has been gone from this house."

Rebecca Celis says they now have very little contact with the police and their frustration is reaching the breaking point, "Its very frustrating", she said, "it's hard to not know where the investigation is."

But a half a year later and the Celis' have not lost hope. Isabel's bedroom has been repainted and there's a new bike waiting. Rebecca Celis says she knows that one day her daughter will return, "I know that she is alive, I don't know how to explain it. She is alive, she is somewhere out there. and that I think that is a harder thing to find than a person who is not."

Right now there are two detectives working the case full time.

Tucson's police chief says if additional detectives are needed to act on a tip, they pull in additional resources, and agencies including the FBI, and U.S. Marshals.

If you have any information call 88-crime.

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1 year ago

Facebook pic shows Celis household continuing to hope for Isabel's return

TUCSON - The "Find Isabel Celis" Facebook Page was updated Thursday with a picture from the Celis household.

The picture shows a man and a woman painting polka dots on a wall with the caption: "Hope continues in the Celis' household! Isabel's room being painted just as she wanted, PINK and PURPLE polkadots. Bring Isa Home!"

The post also links to http://bringisahome.com/, the website dedicated to gathering information about Isabel Celis' disappearance.

1 year ago

Isabel Celis' 7th birthday is Monday

TUCSON - Missing girl Isabel Celis' 7th birthday is Monday.

The family is celebrating by going to a special church service.

"What better way to celebrate her birthday than by thanking God that he gave her to us," Isabel's mother, Becky Celis said, "and at the end, hopefully getting her back."

Isabel has been missing more than 4 months.

"There are the really rough days," Isabel's father, Sergio Celis said, "incredible sadness, incredible frustration still, but lots of hope."

The couple says the stress has brought them closer and they will be ready when Isabel comes home.

"We're as strong as we have been, and I think stronger," Becky Celis said. "We've gone through this."

They are back home and working their jobs again.

"Everyday things are hard to do," Becky Celis said. "Sending the kids to school the first week of school, not getting to send her to school, that was really hard."

They say they have not heard from police lately.

"There's lots of frustration," Becky Celis said. "I don't know necessarily who it's towards. It's towards the whole situation."

The Mass will be at St. Joseph Catholic Church near Broadway Boulevard and Craycroft Road Monday at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited.

1 year ago

Celis family united and speaking out

TUCSON - The search for Isabel Celis is now nearing 100 days and the prayers and support are still coming in.

Friday her parents appeared together and spoke out for the first time in weeks at prayer vigil on the eastside.

Volunteer Mike Hall said, "Things happen and I think people think wow that's terrible and it just fades off. I think this is an issue we need to continue to keep in our hearts."

It was the prayer vigil that brought everyone out, including the media, but the most interesting part was easily the public appearance of the entire family and the comments made afterwards.

If you remember Sergio Celis was banned by CPS from seeing his kids, but Friday they were all together so of course we asked them about it, but they wouldn't comment.

Beyond that we also asked the family about the recent hoax call that Isabel had been found.

Becky Celis said, "I feel sad for the community. It hurt us but the community as well to think and have that false hope."

Upsetting, but surprisingly she said they weren't angry.

Becky Celis said, "I can't be mad at that. They're kids. They're kids. What can we do?"

There was a good turnout for the vigil. There is still a lot of support for the Celis family and the continued search.

However, there are still a lot of questions; new questions about the status of the Child Protective Service's ruling that Sergio can't see his kids.

Obviously something has changed, but the Celis family is not commenting on that and CPS has refused to comment multiple times.

2 years ago

Tucson Police and Isabel Celis volunteers respond to fake 9-1-1 call

TUCSON - Tucson Police Sergeant, Chris Widmer, says the Sunday 911 call from a girl claiming to be Isabel Celis, put his department on high alert.

"When we receive a call like that we take it very seriously."

To investigate, TPD dispatched 25 on duty police officers, 3 detectives and 4 additional staff members.

The cost to the department totals roughly $4,700.00, which is ultimately billed to taxpayers.

"In a normal case, had this been a serious call, we don't worry about the cost. We want to do whatever we have to do to get the job done. In this case, being that it was a prank phone call, that is pretty expensive," Widmer added.

But money wasn't the only thing misspent. So was time. Officers who were scheduled to work on patrol were pulled to investigate this case, delaying other work that needed to be done.

"Citizens were waiting hours for their calls while we did this."

Volunteers, like Dan Smidt, working at the "Bring Isabelle Home" volunteer center, say Sunday's prank also takes an emotional toll.

"It's sad you know, we have a great team of volunteers who have been here from day one. Some of them had heat stress and heat stroke in the parking lot, and so you know it hurts when you get false alarms."

For now, the group is moving forward and trying not to let Sunday's prank derail their efforts.

This Friday night, they're holding a vigil at 7 p.m. It will be located at the Christian Faith Fellowship Church which is at 5601 Broadway Boulevard.

2 years ago

Two girls call 9-1-1 claiming to be Isabel Celis leading police on search

TUCSON-A prank lands two girls in jail.

Tucson police said they called 9-1-1 pretending to be missing Isabel Celis.

The girl who called from a cell phone stated she had been kidnapped and hung up the phone.

Police traced the call to an apartment complex near Kolb and 22nd street.

Officers made contact with the girls, and they admitted to making the call,

Police said the Celis family was notified when they received that call bringing false hope to the family.

"I hope for that little girl to come back," said Candice Southerland who lives in the area.

Twenty-five police officers responded to the area of Manana Grande and Pierce to look for Isabel Celis.

"They did a walk in through all the houses in the neighborhood and down a couple blocks too," said Carlos Lopez who also lives in the area.

Police said every available unit in the city was called to the scene to help look for Isabel.

They canvassed the area from around 9 in the morning until the early afternoon.

"I'm glad TPD came out and did what they needed to do because if it was my child, I would never give up," said Southerland.

A phone call made by the two girls, claiming to be Isabel Celis, lead police to the area.

"Very hushed tones by the caller," said Lt. Lee Mcnitt with Tucson police.

The cell phone lead them to an apartment complex where they found the girls who said they had made the call as a prank.

"This is definitely not something you joke about," said Lt. Mcnitt.

Police said other calls for service went unanswered because of the immediacy of this case.

They said they are focused on finding Isabel.

"So it is very important that we are able to bring all of our assets in a positive manner versus wasting them following up on kids that were playing on the telephone," said Lt. Mcnitt.

Neighbors are disappointed that call turned out to be a prank, and worst of all, brought false hope to the Celis family.

"My heart goes out to those people and I hope that one day they do find their daughter," said Southerland.

The girls have been arrested for false reporting and were transported to Pima County Juvenile Court Center.

Police warn, they will investigate and prosecute any false reports made to 9-1-1.

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2 years ago

New Isabel Celis volunteer center opens

TUCSON - A new volunteer center opened Friday in honor of Isabel Celis. The 6-year-old was reported missing from her east side home April 21st. During that time there have been thousands of tips reported to Tucson Police.

The volunteer headquarters is located the Christian Faith Fellowship church on Broadway Boulevard just east of Craycroft Road. Pastor David Dahlberg said he's donating the space because it's visible and he hopes the location will help focus attention on Isa. "Life is very busy," he said. "I'm aware of that. And we go on with life and we can forget but nothing has changed for the family or for her."

The center is packed full of flyers, buttons and other mementos with Isa's name or picture. Volunteers are welcome to pick up items to distribute throughout the community.

Isa's mother, Becky Celis, visited the church Friday morning. "We're still praying that she's out there and that she's coming home," she said. "My whole family still has lots of confidence that she'll be back soon."

Isabel has been missing for more than 80 days. "The prayers will bring her home," Becky said, "I keep thinking maybe it's not the police. Maybe it's some little angel out there that's going to say, you know what I saw Isa and that right one is going to bring her home."

Nine-year-old Giovanni Danella has volunteered since Isa went missing and is hopeful she'll be found safe soon. "I just want to get the word out there and hopefully we'll find her soon and if we can't find her soon then everybody will be really disappointed."

In the meantime, Becky has her own plea, "just bring my baby girl back home. Isabel, we're still looking for you, we miss you so much and we want you home."

A prayer vigil for Isa will be held at Christian Faith Fellowship on Friday, July 27th at 7 p.m.

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2 years ago

Isabel Celis' mother speaks at opening of new volunteer command center

TUCSON - Today was an emotional day for the mother of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis - she briefly spoke to press at the opening of a new command center for volunteers working to bring Isa home.

The new post, located at the Christian Faith Fellowship on Broadway Boulevard and Craycroft road, is located on a busy road, not far from the Celis home. It will serve as a place for volunteers to gather and distribute items, such as buttons, ribbons and prayer cards.

Isa's family, friends, and even total strangers are committed to finding her, and bringing her home safe. Today marks the 84th day since Isabel Celis went missing from her east side home in April. Police continue to look for clues in the case, but so far, they have not identified any suspects.

Isabel's mother Becky was on hand for the opening of the new center today. She said she's grateful for the public's interest and their volunteer efforts.

Becky says she's uncomfortable being in front of camera, but hopeful that someone out there knows something that will bring her little girl home.

"The prayers will bring her home," she said this morning. "I keep thinking maybe it's not the police. Maybe it's some little angel out there that's going to say, ‘you know what I saw Isa,' and that right one is going to bring her home."

The pastor at this church says they welcome anyone to stop by and pick up flyers to put up. The church is also hosting a vigil on Friday July 27 at 7 p.m.

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2 years ago

Volunteers to hold fundraiser for Isabel Celis at Padres game

TUCSON - Volunteers hoping to find Isabel Celis will be at the Padres game Thursday.

They'll have a table to help distribute fliers and other products with Isabel's face on it .

They are going to the game to remind the community Isa is still missing and to help get her picture out there.

Volunteers will be accepting donations.

The Padres take on the Las Vegas 51s at 7:05pm.

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2 years ago

$60,500 reward now offered for information on Isabel Celis disappearance

TUCSON - The reward for information on the disappearance Isabel Celis case has gone up to over $60,000.
With roughly $10,000 of donations in recent days, the reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the 6-year-old's disappearance is now $60,500.

The informational flier on 88-crime.org reflects this: $59,500 towards the reward has come from private donations, added to the original $1,000 reward offered from 88-CRIME.

It has been 41 days since Isabel Celis went missing from her east side home, and no new information has been released by Tucson Police since last week. Last Thursday, TPD released over 500 pages of police reports in the case.

You can view and download the 88-CRIME flier for Isabel Celis here:

http://88crime.org/custom.aspx?p=7

2 years ago

Celis documents reveal new information

TUCSON - There have been countless searches, hundreds of volunteer hours, and more than 1500 tips, but 6-year-old Isabel Celis is still missing from her eastside home.

Tucson Police released some 500 pages of investigative documents related to the case. We read everything from phone tips and searches, to conversations with family members.

One report from April 28th shows police responded to the Celis neighborhood regarding a suspicious vehicle. It was described in the report as "a fairly new large dark grey van with a flat back." The windows had dark tint and the driver was a Hispanic male in his late thirties with dark curly hair.

Some documents also showed the crime scene unit took photos of the Celis home.

A reporting officer wrote, "I took general views of the interior and exterior, I also took views of handwriting on the wall, doorjamb, and inside wall of the closet of the southeast bedroom."

In addition, one report noted officers found "some potential evidence in a wash, a bed sheet and a bed skirt."

Phone tips from all over the country also came into 911.

Someone from Austin, Texas claimed the victim was taken by a satanic cult.

In Berlin, Connecticut, a psychic said he had the feeling the victim knew her abductor. A man from Florida called to say his granddaughter was kidnapped in a similar fashion, and the man arrested was part of a child porn ring.

Tucson Police have also been helped by U.S. Marshalls, FBI, and the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Police Chief Robert Villaseñor said the investigation has cost more than a million dollars so far.

2 years ago

Police reports in Isabel Celis investigation released

TUCSON - Police have released hundreds of pages of documents in the Isabel Celis case.

They are officers' reports related to the investigation.

Among the revelations:

Becky Celis and Isabel's two older brothers were crying when one officer arrived.

Becky Celis asked police if they had contacted authorities near the border.

Becky Celis reported having a good relationship with her family at home.

Sergio Celis said he fell asleep on the couch watching a prerecorded baseball game the night Isabel disappeared. He claims he woke up and went to bed around 5 a.m.

Multiple officers reported footprints on a utility box behind the home.

Many reports were false leads.

Officers were sent to investigate a strange smell on April 24. They found parts of a rotting rattlesnake carcass in a trash can.

Some reports were extremely brief. On April 24, one officer simply wrote, "I responded and provided scene security for the command post."

Many police reports remain sealed from public records requests.

2 years ago

New documents released in Celis case

TUCSON -Tucson Police released hundreds of pages of reports from the case of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

The 500 pages include interviews and other details starting from the day Isabel disappeared April 20th.

News 4 Tucson is pouring over the reports and will have more on the new developments tonight at 10:00 p.m.

2 years ago

Finding Isabel: Do police know anything?

TUCSON - It's been more than 30 days in the search for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis. Police have held their final news conference, barring any major development in the case.

Officers are now passing out a questionnaire in the surrounding neighborhood with 7 very basic questions. We interviewed a retired TPD detective, to see if this means the department has little to go on.

Joe Godoy worked on 2 cases where girls were murdered, but their cases weren't solved until 13 years later. He says the questionnaire could mean that police have little to go on, but more likely, it's a case of being thorough.

"What did we miss? Did we miss anything? Let's go back to the basics and make sure we covered everything. So I think this is what it's all about, just making sure everything is covered so they don't miss anything at all," said Godoy.

Tucson police confirm that, saying they definitely are not back to square one. "You never know when that break in the case comes or where it will come from," said Lt. Fabian Pacheco, Tucson Police Department.

Police plan to re-interview all nearby Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders with victims 10-years-old or younger.

2 years ago

RAW VIDEO: Police will hold no more scheduled conferences on Celis case

TUCSON - In their latest update to the media, Tucson Police confirmed that they would no longer be holding regularly-scheduled updates on the Isabel Celis disappearance.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco told reporters today that exhaustive investigative efforts into this case continue, with over 1,500 leads gathered so far.

He said that they have questioned all 540 registered sex offenders in the area around the Celis house, and are now in the process of re-questioning the highest-risk offenders.

Police are also handing out some 120 updated flyers to neighbors around the east side home where Isabel Celis went missing one month ago.

Stay tuned to News 4 Tucson - police will continue to release information to the media directly.

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2 years ago

Isabel Celis update from Tucson Police scheduled for 2 p.m. today

TUCSON - Tucson Police are scheduled to provide an update on the Isabel Celis case to the public at 2 p.m. today - watch the news conference live on Channel 4 and live-streaming on KVOA.com.

In their latest update, held last Thursday, Tucson Police spokesperson Sgt. Maria Hawke confirmed that the Celis disappearance is being investigated as an abduction, and that Child Protective Services has had contact with the family before this incident.

She also confirmed is was extremely unlikely that there is any connection between the possible human bones found at the former DeAnza Drive-In and the Celis case.

For all the latest details on the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis, click here for our full coverage page.

Tune in to Channel 4 or KVOA.com at 2 p.m. to watch today's Tucson Police news conference on Isabel Celis.

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2 years ago

Big turnout for Celis candlelight walk

TUCSON - A big turnout Friday evening for a candlelight walk in the search for missing six-year-old Isabel Celis.

Dozens of volunteers turned out to "light a light of hope" that Isabel will be found safe.

The walk started at 7 p.m. at the volunteer center at Broadway and Craycroft.

News 4 Tucson has a crew there and will have more coming up tonight at 10 p.m.

2 years ago

Four-week breakdown of Isabel Celis' disappearance

TUCSON - It is four weeks after Isabel Celis' disappearance and police still haven't named a primary suspect.

They haven't eliminated anyone saying family, friends or strangers could be involved.

Police say every tip they get generates new leads, but those leads haven't led to the first grader.

The nightmare started Saturday morning, April 21, when six-year-old Isabel Celis' father called 9-1-1 to report his daughter missing.

That triggered a manhunt within a three-mile-radius of Isabel's home.

On day 5, Isabel's parents broke their silence, making an emotional plea.

"We are looking for you Isa," said Sergio Celis, Isabel's father.

On day 6, police searched washes and lakes at local parks.

Day 9, Isabel's parents, family and friends attended a special mass.

Day 12, detectives recreated the crime scene with Celis family members one-by-one.

The next day, Isabel's parents did an exclusive interview with NBC's Today Show.

"Just to keep praying for her," said Sergio.

Day 14, Isabel's parents answer questions from the local media for the first time.

"What I want is her here and having a normal life," said Rebecca Celis, Isabel's mother.

On day 21, police reveal that CPS has been on the case from the beginning, but now Isabel's older brothers are staying with their mother, away from their father.

On day 24, police release the 9-1-1 tape of the call to report Isabel missing.

"I want to report a missing person. My little girl who's 6-years-old. I believe she was abducted from our house," said Sergio to the operator.

Day 25, investigators searched a wash near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base but no sign of Isabel.

At their latest press conference, police said although they haven't found Isabel just yet, they have a team pulled from other units dedicated solely to this case, and they will continue to investigate tips they receive.

2 years ago

Police: Celis case is an 'abduction,' but no one ruled out as suspect

TUCSON - Tucson Police confirmed that they are investigating the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis as an abduction, but clarified that they have not ruled out anyone as a possible suspect, including family members.

"We want to clarify that by definition of the word, this does fall under the category of what an abduction is," Sgt. Maria Hawke said. "That essentially means that somebody took her. We do not believe that she actually left the residence on her own, meaning she didn't get up and walk out."

Sgt. Hawke explained why Tucson Police were hesitant to call this an abduction:

"We were very careful and we are very careful about using the word ‘abduction' by itself, because we all know the second you use that word, people automatically assume that it's a stranger abduction - somebody unknown to the family," she said. "We are still evaluating all of the information, and pursuing all possible avenues of investigation."

Sgt. Hawke also confirmed that Child Protective Services has had contact with the Celis family before the incident, but would not comment further, saying that Tucson Police were not involved. CPS officials would not comment on any cases involving the Celis family.

When asked about this morning's discovery of bones, possibly human remains, at the site of the former DeAnza Drive-In, Sgt. Hawke said that due to the age of the bones, it is extremely unlikely there is any connection to the Celis case.

The next Tucson Police news conference on the Isabel Celis disappearance is scheduled for Monday, May 21 at 2 p.m.

2 years ago

Neighbors shocked over CPS involvement in Celis case

TUCSON - Day 26 and still no sign of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

Her parents, Sergio and Rebecca, say they put her to bed around 11 p.m., Friday, April 20th.

The next day, Tucson Police started searching a 3-mile radius around the family home near Craycroft and Broadway.

Investigators have poured over at least a thousand leads.

The family continues to pray for the return of little Isabel. Last week, Child Protective Services barred the father, Sergio Celis, from seeing his two sons. The boys are now with their mother.

Neighbors were shocked to hear the family was separated.

David Pike says he didn't notice anything unusual when he saw the family just after a news conference on May 4th. He says he saw Sergio with the older son walking from the grandparents' house to the Celis' house.

"I said hi how is it going, is there anything our family do to help and Serg Sr. Looked at me and said just pray. And I said we can do that," Pike said.

Pike said a few minutes later he saw the wife, Rebecca, and the other son and also greeted them.

This past weekend he didn't see Sergio. "We seen mom and the boys in the car going towards the house, I mean walking down the street no we haven't seen them at all since a week ago."

Pike says they will continue to pray for Isabel's safe return.

2 years ago

Neighbors have mixed feelings about search for Isabel

TUCSON - Neighbors near the Celis family home are feeling the strain of a search that is now in its 4th week.

Mixed feelings would be the best way to describe how neighbors are feeling at this moment. Some say they are holding out hope, others say with each passing day, the chance of a happy ending continues to diminish. "I'm still hoping she's okay. I'm still hoping she's somewhere, and I really think she's going to come home," said Penny Gale, neighbor.

Sergio, Isa's father, is staying up the street at his mother's home. Neighbors say you can see him coming and going late at night or early in the morning, otherwise, they don't see him much. The talk in the neighborhood though revolves around the 911 calls.

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2 years ago

Police: Wash search near D-M is related to Celis case

TUCSON - Police have confirmed that the search activity in a wash near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is related to the case of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

News 4 Tucson's Larissa Wohl is on the scene near Golf Links Road and Swan Road - she says there is a heavy presence of PCSD and TPD vehicles at the scene. Officials told her they have been out at the scene since about 8 a.m. this morning.

Since arriving at the scene, officials have been scouring the wash, and a helicopter has been circling the area overhead.

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2 years ago

RAW AUDIO: Sergio Celis' 911 call released

TUCSON - Tucson Police have released tapes of the 911 call placed on the Saturday morning after 6-year-old Isabel Celis went missing.

An excerpt from the transcript of this call follows:

911 Operator: "What's your emergency?"
Sergio Celis: "I want to report a missing person. My little girl who's 6-years-old. I believe she was abducted from our house."
911 Operator: "Why do you think she was abducted?
Sergio Celis: "I have no idea. We woke up this morning and went to go get her up, start her baseball game, and she's gone. I woke up my sons, I, we looked everywhere in the house, and my oldest son noticed that her window was wide open and the screen was laying in the backyard. We've looked all around the house."

The complete raw audio from this 911 call is attached to this story as a video - click the video player above to listen.

NOTE: Segments of this recording may have been redacted by Tucson Police prior to its release to the media.

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2 years ago

TPD: Celis father separates from his boys voluntarily at CPS request

TUCSON - In their latest update to the news media regarding missing Isabel Celis, Tucson Police confirmed that Isabel's two older brothers are currently staying with their mother, Rebecca, after the father agreed to a voluntary separation from the boys with Child Protective Services.

Police also confirmed they they will be releasing the 911 call made on the Saturday morning after Isabel was discovered missing.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor told the press the two Celis boys, both older than 6-year-old Isabel Celis, are currently living with their mother. Villasenor began the briefing by clarifying that the involvement of CPS in this case is not unusual. CPS has been involved since the beginning of this investigation.

"In the course of some interviews that occurred at the end of last week, some information was brought forward that we felt it was necessary to consult with Child Protective Services," said Chief Villasenor. "What was told to us, based on that, they consulted with our detectives as well as with family members, and a voluntary agreement was reached between Child Protective Services and the parents to restrict access, voluntary, for Sergio to get some space and distance from the older children of the Celis family. We really can't talk about other details about that at this point."

During questioning, Chief Villasenor reiterated that he would not comment on what caused the voluntary separation.

Villasenor emphasized this development does not mean that they have "settled on a path" in this investigation, and that, as has been the case, all leads and potential suspects are still being considered. He says that 12 to 15 detectives are working external viewpoints," in this case, looking into the possibility that a stranger abducted Isabel Celis. He says about four detectives are looking into internal possibilities - that a family member or someone connected to family is involved.

"That's what we have said from the beginning - that we are not closing our mind to anything about this investigation," Chief Villasenor said.

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2 years ago

BBB cautions about donating in Finding Isabel case

TUCSON -- The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona issued a warning to today for people to mindful if they wish to donate money in the case of missing Isabel Celis.

While the BBB has not seen a specific scam or received complaints, they tell the News 4 Tucson Investigators, it is common for fraudsters to prey upon people's good intentions in situations such as this.

You will hear from the BBB at 4pm and 6pm on News 4 Tucson Monday May 14.

To see the full media release from the BBB, click here.

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2 years ago

Tucson Police holding Isabel Celis news conference at 3 p.m. today

TUCSON - Tucson Police are scheduled to hold a news conference regarding the case of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis at 3 p.m. today.

On Friday, it was revealed that Child Protective Services has "increased involvement" in this case. A news release from Tucson Police Department states that CPS as taken "certain measures to ensure the continued welfare of the Celis children."

News 4 Tucson will broadcast the news conference on Channel 4, and live stream it on KVOA.com.

Tune in or log on at 3 p.m. to watch live.

2 years ago

Volunteers still focused on bringing Isabel Celis home

TUCSON - Volunteers are not letting anything distract them from trying to bring Isabel Celis home.

"If this were my child who went missing," Holly Hansen said, "I wouldn't want people to forget. I wouldn't want people to stop trying."

The latest news about Child Protective Services increasing their involvement in the case is not something they dwell on.

"Until we know facts," Hansen said, "I don't think that it detracts at all from what's going on here."

They realize interest in the case is settling down.

"We do live in a world where everybody has a short attention span," Rockne Rios said, "but hopefully, they won't give up so easily."

They say they have given away more than one million flyers.

All the money they raised has gone toward publicity and the reward.

2 years ago

CPS involved in Celis case

TUCSON - Friday, Tucson Police confirmed Child Protective Services is now involved in the investigation into the disappearance of missing six-year-old Isabel Celis.

Below is the TPD news release, in full:

"In the course of the continuing investigation into the disappearance of six year-old Isabel Celis, the Tucson Police Department has been in contact with Child Protective Services (CPS).

Recently, detectives became aware of information regarding the welfare of the older Celis children. That information was shared with CPS for their consideration and determination relating to this investigation. Yesterday, CPS personnel responded to police headquarters to consult with detectives as well as the family. Subsequent to their assessment, CPS instituted certain measures to ensure the continued welfare of the Celis children. It needs to be stressed that is common practice for CPS to become involved in investigations regarding missing children.

However, in keeping with our commitment to keep members of the media and our community informed of changes or developments in this investigation, we felt it important to advise you of the increased involvement of CPS.

Finally, because of the sensitive nature of this investigation, we will not be providing any additional information on this situation at this time."

Tucson Police tell News 4 the parents are living separately because of this and one of the parents is not allowed any kind of contact.

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2 years ago

Police: CPS has 'increased involvement' in Celis investigation

TUCSON - Tucson Police have released new information regarding the case of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis. Below is the TPD news release, in full:

In the course of the continuing investigation into the disappearance of six year-old Isabel Celis, the Tucson Police Department has been in contact with Child Protective Services (CPS). Recently, detectives became aware of information regarding the welfare of the older Celis children. That information was shared with CPS for their consideration and determination relating to this investigation. Yesterday, CPS personnel responded to police headquarters to consult with detectives as well as the family. Subsequent to their assessment, CPS instituted certain measures to ensure the continued welfare of the Celis children. It needs to be stressed that is common practice for CPS to become involved in investigations regarding missing children. However, in keeping with our commitment to keep members of the media and our community informed of changes or developments in this investigation, we felt it important to advise you of the increased involvement of CPS.

Finally, because of the sensitive nature of this investigation, we will not be providing any additional information on this situation at this time.

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2 years ago

Police: Celis investigation cost in excess of $1m to date

TUCSON - In the latest update to the news media, Tucson Police confirmed that the total costs for the Isabel Celis investigation are now in excess of $1 million.

This is a rough estimate, Sgt. Maria Hawke said. The first four days of the search for Isabel alone cost about $340,000, and to date, the Tucson Police Department has paid out overtime costs of about $250,000.

About 20 investigators and 30 support staffers are still working over 1,000 leads and tips that have come in since the 6-year-old's disappearance 20 days ago. She said that TPD officers "intend on utilizing every resource available" until all the leads are exhausted.

Sgt. Hawke noted that while statistically, the chance of finding Isabel alive is dropping with each day, there are plenty of examples of children being found weeks, months, and even years after their initial disappearance.

"We have every hope that as long as we keep investigating to the fullest extent that we can, we will be able to bring her home safely," Sgt. Hawke said. "Not only that, but prosecute the person that did this."

When questioned, Sgt. Hawke detailed the process of setting up the Celis family's interview with local news media, held last week.

She said that after the family spoke to the national NBC News outlet, they had a desire to speak to local media outlets, "in light of fact that this is their community, this is where Isa lives," Sgt. Hawke said.

The family had originally requested just one camera and one interviewer, but ultimately chose one interviewer from each of the three major news outlets in Tucson.

"They asked for very specific things," Sgt. Hawke said.

Hawke concluded the conference by saying that barring any major developments in the case, there would be no media briefings this weekend, and the next news conference will be held Monday at 2 p.m.

2 years ago

Finding Isabel, day 18 of the investigation

TUCSON - The intense search for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis continues, now in its 18th day.

Tuesday afternoon Tucson police held a briefing to update the public and media about the investigation.

There are no new leads that police can comment on. But they have received more than a thousand tips.

Right now, about 50 personnel are working the case, 20 detectives and 30 support staff.

The FBI and US Marshals are assisting too.

At Tuesday's news conference, Sgt. Maria Hawke said Isabel's disappearance is still classified as a possible abduction and they're investigating all possible scenarios.

"We've been examining every possibility. Whether it be extended family members, friends, people who have visited the neighborhood or regulars in the neighborhood. They have a very active social life outside of the home as well. So pretty much everyone they come into contact with has obviously been looked at," Sgt. Maria Hawke said Tuesday.

Sgt. Hawke says there's a multi step process detectives go through to eliminate possible suspects.

"There's a variety of hypotheticals that could cause somebody to be cleared. One example is if we can definitively prove that they were not in the city of Tucson at any time, during the time frame she potentially went missing," said Sgt. Hawke, "So that 11pm on Friday to 8am Saturday morning. If we can definitively prove that someone was not in town, it eliminates them from the suspicion of having taken her. But we then have to take the next step of eliminating them of having any knowledge of the incident."

So far, no one has been identified as a suspect and no one has been ruled out.

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2 years ago

Police: 20 detectives and 30 support staffers working on Celis case

TUCSON - The intense search for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis continues, and is now it its 18th day.

Earlier this afternoon, Tucson Police held a news briefing to update the public and media about the investigation.

There are no new leads that police can comment on, but they have received more than 1,000 tips.

Right now, about 50 personnel are working the case: 20 detectives and 30 support staff. The FBI and US Marshalls are assisting too.

At today's news conference, Sgt. Maria Hawke says Isabel's disappearance is still classified as a "possible abduction." No one has been ruled out, and they're investigating all possible scenarios.

"We've been examining every possibility. Whether it be extended family members, friends, people who have visited the neighborhood or regulars in the neighborhood," Sgt. Hawke said. "They have a very active social life outside outside of the home as well. So pretty much everyone they come into contact with has obviously looked at.:02 There has not been one person that has been identified as a suspect, as well as no one has been eliminated from suspicion in this case."

Sgt. Hawke also talked about their process of elimination when it comes to identifying possible suspects. So far, she says no one has been identified, nor ruled out.

2 years ago

Mobile billboard donated to help in seach for Isabel Celis

TUCSON - Day 17 since six-year-old Isabel Celis disappeared from her eastside home and still there are no solid leads.

Meantime police have scaled back the number of officers assigned to the case.

Volunteers are stepping up efforts to assist the investigation.

Many of the signs and fliers you see around Tucson, were donated by local graphic design companies. There's now a mobile billboard zooming around town.

Logging 500 miles a week, it's hard to miss, and that's the point.

"We left it out at KFMA day so it would have a lot of visibility out there," Debbie Frable the owner of Payless 4 Signs said.

She and her son Jerry own the trailer with billboard attached.

"Nobody paid for it, we didn't take any donations or anything for the banner, or the art work for the billboard anything like that," Frable said.

They don't know the Celis family personally, but as parents themselves felt drawn to act. It's their own unique way to help in the search for Isabel.

"It really hits my heart because I have two grand daughters. Jerry has two daughters they are eight and twelve now. The thought of something happening to them is just devastating," Frable said.

Frable hopes the billboard size description of Isabel jogs someone's memory, and the right tip comes in.

"I just hope that she's found healthy. And who ever took her hasn't hurt her in any way. It's been hurting enough to have her away from her family for as long as it's been already," said Frable.

Tucson Police will hold a news conference Tuesday and again Thursday to update their progress into Isabel's disappearance.

2 years ago

Concert raises money for Isabel Celis fund

TUCSON - Volunteers put together a concert for the TMC Foundation's fund that raises money for the search for Isabel Celis and provides support for the family.

More than 100 people attended, including Isabel's parents, Sergio and Becky Celis.

The longest performance came from a choir of performers who mostly knew Sergio Celis from the Arizona Opera and other groups.

After the group finished, Sergio and Becky Celis talked to the crowd and thanked them for their support. Then Becky led them in prayer.

Sergio Celis' solo performance of Ave Maria brought tears from several people in the crowd.

Sergio and Becky Celis did not take any questions from the media, but said they appreciated the publicity and enjoyed the concert.

2 years ago

Volunteers paper your street

TUCSON - With not much news coming from the Tucson Police Department, volunteers are doing what they can to help. Sunday morning, groups got together to paper your streets.

Volunteers showered the area between Wilmot and Alvernon on 22nd Street with signs.

"She spent a lot of time over here, so people around here might have seen her. If it was someone that was in this area that had been watching her at the ballpark, we want to make sure that we have her face specifically in this area," says Tammy Frayser.

Every pole along the stretch of road now has a sign like this one posted on it. Just one more way to make sure everyone knows to keep an eye out for Isabel Celis.

Shoes, wheels or a stroller, the method didn't matter; it's the goal that counts. Two groups set out with one purpose: paper your street. They're putting Isabel's face on every pole possible.

"You have to keep putting her face out there and if it's two to three hours out of our lives, that's nothing."

From pole to pole and even bus stops, volunteers walked with flyers in hand, taping each one in hopes that someone will recognize this little girl.

"Just trying to get her face out so everybody can see it. If, by chance, somebody is in a grocery store they'll be like, "Hey, I know her,'" says Brittney Patrick.

As we enter into week three of the search, resources are running thin.

"The volunteer station here is running out. We're going to work on with what we have and hopefully more people will come and make donations so we can get more fliers printed."

Each flier is different and now they're trying neon green.

"Just the color of paper, we're hoping it just pops a little bit more where people pay attention, it gets their eyes to it a little closer," says Frayser. "Two weeks is a very small amount of time when you're thinking of a 6-year-old child, a beautiful little girl that did not deserve what has happened to her. She needs to be home."

Volunteers encourage the community to print signs and post them in your neighborhood. You can also stop by the volunteer tent on Broadway and Craycroft to pick some up.

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2 years ago

Tucson Police holding fewer briefings in Isabel Celis case

TUCSON - Tucson Police held a news conference Sunday morning where they announced they'll be reducing the number of briefings regarding the search for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco said work on the case is scaling down because that's part of the natural progression of the investigation.

Detectives will be meeting Monday morning to assess where they're at in the investigation and where they need to go from here.

Lt. Pacheco insists this isn't a cold case and that police continue making daily progress in their search to find Isa.

Police have received more than 900 leads in the case.

The next media briefing will be on Tuesday. However, updates will be given through emailed press releases.

If you have any information on the Isabel Celis case, call 911 or 88-CRIME.

2 years ago

Isabel Celis' parents attend charity softball game

TUCSON - Isabel Celis' parents attended a charity softball game to help bring their daughter home.

Teams competed in a tournament at the Kino Sports Complex Saturday afternoon.

"To be out here, it's hard," Isabel's mother Becky Celis said, "because Isa's not here, and this is what she loves to do."

Registration cost $150. Seven teams played. The money will pay for more fliers and other items to spread the message about the girl's disappearance.

Isabel's father Sergio was coaching his team from the first-base line.

"Being around family and watching them play," Sergio Celis said, "that's a lot of fun."

Sergio Celis said it was still difficult to enjoy himself.

"It is all for Isabel," Sergio Celis said, "and we can't go crawling under a rock. We do got to be out there."

Becky Celis said all the negative attention her family is receiving is sometimes excessive.

"But you know what? It doesn't matter," Becky Celis said. "It doesn't matter how we're viewed. We just want Isabel back, so we're going to do whatever we can to bring Isabel home."

Becky and Sergio Celis plan on attending more events and helping the volunteers who have been working to bring Isabel home.

2 years ago

Police say whoever did this did an "adequate" job

TUCSON - It's been two weeks since 6-year-old Isabel Celis was reported missing, but still no solid leads on where the first-grader could be.

At a news conference Saturday, Tucson Police said they're working on more than 900 tips. A majority of them aren't substantial. Around 20 investigators and analysts are working the case this weekend. They're also looking at video, but won't say what it is or where it's from.

As the days continue to pass with no sign of Isabel, no one is giving up. Both law enforcement and volunteers spoke out about how they're feeling on day 15.

"We're going to operate and continue to work this investigation under the assumption that she is alive and that we will bring her back safely to her family," says Lt. Fabian Pacheco.

So far, questions about who could be involved haven't been answered.

"We're just not at a position yet that we could share those things with you, not at a position where we could tell you we have this person as a suspect or that person as a suspect."

Many are beginning to wonder how much TPD really knows.

"Whoever is involved did an adequate job of really covering a lot of things that we could possibly look at."

With little progress, volunteers continue doing what they can to help by raising money and spreading awareness.

"It's both one team. We've just gotta be sure not to step on each other's toes and we can cooperate and do our best. The goal, as much as i can say, pray, take action, find Isabel Celis," says Steve Raw.

As the days pass, donations keep coming. Items for sale include necklaces, candles with personal messages, ribbons and now window clings, just another way to keep Isabel's face in the spotlight.

"I'm not stopping."

Entering week three of the search, law enforcement continues to investigate.

"It doesn't just happen overnight. We have to continue to work on them," says Pacheco.

TPD is still working with departments in other areas. There's now an electronic billboard in Nogales. You can help by using social media to spread the word.

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2 years ago

Tucson Police give update on Isabel Celis case

TUCSON - Isabel Celis has now been missing for two weeks, but Tucson Police say they're still working around the clock to find the 6-year-old.

During a news conference Saturday, Lt. Fabian Pacheco told News 4 Tucson about 15-20 detectives and analysts are working on the case this weekend.

Police have received more than 900 leads, but Lt. Pacheco says a vast majority of them aren't good leads. However, they're following up on all of them.

Police say many false leads and rumors are spreading through social media. They're still encouraging the community to report tips by calling 911 or 88-CRIME.

Lt. Pacheco said they're still exploring all scenarios, but no one is a focus of the investigation and no one has been eliminated.

Pacheco also said they're working on the assumption that Isabel Celis is still alive and they'll be able to bring her back home safely.

2 years ago

Day 14-Timeline into Isabel Celis' disappearance

TUCSON - It's coming up on two weeks since Isabel Celis disappeared. It's been an exhausting week for Isabel's parents.They said they have no idea where she could be, or whether she's safe or not.

The nightmare started Saturday morning, April 21, when six-year-old Isabel Celis' family realized she was not in her bedroom.

"We're all really surprised and shocked that anything like this could even happen to our family," said Isabel's uncle Justin Mastomarino.

Police were called at 8:14 a.m. and canvassed the area within a three mile radius of Isabel's home on the 5600 block of East 12th street.

Police called the event a suspicious disappearance or possible abduction and said they were not ruling anyone out.

Family and friends quickly printed out flyers to spread the word that little Isabel went missing.

On day two, three and four, search efforts continued.

On day 5, Isabel's parents made an emotional statement.

"We are looking for you Isa. We love you and we miss you sooo much and we will never give we will never give up looking for you," said Sergio Celis, Isabel's father.

By day 6, police focused their search on parks and bodies of water to look for evidence.

"To make sure that we do a comprehensive search and nothing is left out," said Lt. Fabian Pacheco with Tucson Police.

On day 7, police are looking for potential witnesses to come forward, and asked for any video from the baseball game where Isabel was present that Friday the night before she vanished.

On day 8, volunteers raised over $2,200 dollars through fundraisers.

On day 9, Isabel's parents, family and friends attended a special mass to pray for her safe return.

On day 10, a music video was made to spread awareness about Isabel's disappearance.

Day 11, police continue to investigate over 400 tips.

On day 12, detectives took Celis family members one-by-one to their home to recreate the scene.

Day 13, Isabel's parents make another plea in an exclusive NBC interview.

"We just need everyone out there--everyone--just to keep praying for her. Keep your eyes out," said Isabel's dad Sergio Celis.

Day 14, Isabel's parents answer questions from the local media for the first time.

"What I want is her here and having a normal life. This is not what we want," said Isabel's mom Rebecca.

2 years ago

RAW: Celis parents talk to local news media

TUCSON - In this extended interview with the local news media, Rebecca and Sergio Celis discuss, in-depth, the disappearance of their 6-year-old daughter, including the investigation, how their lives have changed, what their plans for the future are, and how much they miss their daughter.

We'll have the full story on the News 4 Tucson at 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m. tonight. In the mean time, you can watch full, uncut video of the interview above.

2 years ago

Celis Family to speak to local news media at 11 a.m.

TUCSON - Rebecca and Sergio Celis, the parents of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis, will speak to the local news media at 11 a.m. today.

The couple spoke to the Today Show's Ann Curry in an NBC exclusive interview yesterday morning - you can watch it here. You can see a clinical psychologist give his opinion about the interview here.

News 4 Tucson will live-stream the 11 a.m. news conference on KVOA.com - click here to tune in to the live stream.

2 years ago

Expert offers his opinion about Celis interview

TUCSON - The parents of Isabel Celis did their first sit down interview Thursday morning.

News 4 spoke to a clinical psychologist for his opinion about the parents' body language during the interview with The Today Show.

"She is so full of life she is so wonderful. We miss her so much and her brother. just want you so much," said Sergio Celis.

This is the first question and answer interview the Celis' have given. Thomas Baggot is a clinical psychologist who specializes in forensic interviews throughout the country. News 4 asked for his expert opinion.

"When I look at them, I looked at their behavior, their movement, their body language. There's no great fear there is a stage presence of sadness," said Baggot.

He has 25 years of law experience, plus another 20 in psychology. He analyzed the parents' body language.

"He has access at closing of the eyes every time you do interviews and people look away or lose eye contact, you need to suspect deception," said Baggot, when referring to the Celis'.

He also talked about the question of the parents' possible involvement in their daughter's disappearance.

"Most important they asked clearly if he had anything to do with his daughter's disappearance, he doesn't answer the question. Watch their body movements during that question. No support, no hands crossing. She looks down to the right, I would expect her to watch him and watch him deny it, but he evades the question," said Baggot.

This is the opinion of one expert. Tucson Police detectives continue to investigate all angles in this case, and pray for Isabel's safe return.

2 years ago

TPD: Budget not a concern, 40-50 officers working round-the-clock

TUCSON - On day 13 of the investigation, 40 to 50 Tucson Police officers and detectives are still assigned to the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

She began the conference with a clarification about what yesterday's activity at the Celis house was about.

"As you all know, the family has been allowed to return to the house," Hawke said. "They can come and go as they please. It's my understanding that they are not staying there yet. That may come in the future. I simply don't know, ultimately that will be their decision. They were happy to cooperate with investigators as they have been all along - to help us get that better understanding, that was what yesterday was all about."

"The budget is not a concern, really, the key concern is getting Isabel home safely," Tucson Police spokesperson Sgt. Maria Hawke told the media during the department's 2 p.m. daily news conference.

Sgt. Hawke confirmed that both Sergio Celis and Rebecca Celis have taken polygraph tests, but TPD is not releasing the results, as the investigation is still ongoing at this time.

She said the number of tips they have received so far remains at about 500, and she reiterated that they are working this case with the belief that they will bring Isabel home alive and safe.

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2 years ago

NBC EXCLUSIVE: Celis parents make another plea in exclusive Today Show interview

TUCSON - In an exclusive interview with NBC's The Today Show Isabel Celis's mother, Rebecca Celis and father, Sergio Celis made another plea for the safe return of their missing 6-year-old daughter.

But they were also asked some hard questions.

Sergio Celis was asked what he thinks of the allegations that he may have had something to do with his daughter's disappearance.

His response, "Where do I begin?" Sergio went on to say it was extremely frustrating, and later in the interview said police were, "wasting time" focusing on him and his wife.

TODAY Show Exclusive: Interview with Rebecca and Sergio Celis

But Rebecca Celis had a different opinion. She said she understood that police had to question her and her husband, and do their job, and that she was willing to do go through whatever it took to get Isabel back home.

At the end of the interview, the couple profusely thanked everyone for well-wishes, and thanked the Tucson community for supporting search efforts.

And they asked that everyone continue to pray for their daughter - Isabel.

2 years ago

Police accompany Celis family members inside home

TUCSON - Tucson Police returned to the Celis home Wednesday in their investigation into the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel.

On day 12 of the search for the little girl, Tucson Police detectives accompanied members of the Celis family into the home one at a time for questioning. Police started with Isabel's father Sergio Celis, who was in the home for about an hour. Her mother was next and stayed in the home for 45 minutes, and finally a young boy, believed to be Isabel's brother, was brought into the home.

2 years ago

Police say they've gotten 500 Isabel Celis tips in the last 12 days

TUCSON - Tucson Police say more than 500 tips have come in regarding the disappearance of Isabel Celis. One hundred of those tips were reported between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. The six-year-old was reported missing from her east side home 12 days ago.

On Wednesday, detectives entered the Celis home with the girl's father, mother, and two brothers. The family has control of the home and investigators were there with the family's consent.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco from the Tucson Police Department said the visit was a routine part of the investigation.

"They're escorting family in and out, speaking with them independently. It's just a continuation of their work. I can't talk with you about specifics that they're dealing with or questions that they're asking it's just furthering their investigation," Lt. Pacheco said.

According to Pacheco, detectives have not focused on one particular scenario or person, "It's part of the continuing investigation and just the method that detectives do their work," he said.

Pacheco also told reporters at Wednesday's press conference that detectives had been working with state police in Sonora. At least five tips have come with reported sightings of Isabel south of the border. Pacheco said the girl was spotted in Magdalena, which is south of Nogales, but the information did not turn up any significant results. He said investigators had not been to Mexico since the investigation began.

2 years ago

Detectives bring Celis family members to scene, one by one

TUCSON - Today, Tucson Police Department detectives and Celis family members have been on Tucson's east side, going in and out of the house where 6-year-old Isabel Celis disappeared 12 days ago.

News 4 Tucson's Lupita Murillo was is at the home near Broadway and Craycroft for the latest developments. She confirmed that there was a lot of activity this afternoon at the Celis home.

Just before noon, Sergio Celis , Isabel's father, was brought to the house. He was accompanied by Tucson Police detectives and stayed inside the house for about an hour.

Sergio Celis was quickly whisked away by the investigators. Minutes later, Rebecca Celis, Isabel's mother, showed up with the same detectives. She stayed in the house for about 45 minutes, and then left. Then, detectives brought in this young boy, believed to be Isabel's brother.

We understand the detectives did this to recreate the scene to help them create a better timeline before little Isabel disappeared.

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2 years ago

Celis parents visit house separately, accompanied by law enforcement

TUCSON - There has been activity at the house where missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis lives - her mother and father visited the house separately, accompanied by law enforcement officials, and a young boy is currently at the house.

Sergio Celis arrived at the east side home early this afternoon with several detectives, according to News 4 Tucson's Lupita Murillo, who has obtained video of this occurrence. The father remained inside the home for about an hour, then left.

Murillo then witnessed Rebecca Celis, Isabel's mother, enter the home, also accompanied by law enforcement officials. After the mother left, a young boy was escorted inside the house by law enforcement.

Tucson Police will be holding a news conference at 2 p.m. Log on to KVOA.com and click the Live Stream link to watch it live.

2 years ago

RAW VIDEO: Police may discontinue daily news briefings on Celis

TUCSON - Tucson Police say they are considering eliminating their daily press conference regarding the disappearance of six-year-old Isabel Celis.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco said the department is fully aware of the resources used by the department and the media when holding the afternoon meetings and is concerned resources may be stretched especially when no new details are released in the case. Pacheco stressed detectives are still working the case but cannot reveal many details to the public.

At Tuesday's press conference Pacheco told reporters more than 400 tips had come into the department regarding Isabel's case. He also said detectives were still searching through surveillance video taken from a nearby church. The video released last week was from a date not related to the case, "some people are saying well, 'This is a huge setback.' I think to characterize it as a setback is very inaccurate because we said all along the value of that video was simply to identify those people that we thought were witnesses, potential witnesses. We wanted to know what they saw," he explained.

Lt. Pacheco said detectives were working with Isabel's coach to locate any home video shot the last night she was publicly seen. As of Tuesday no video had been submitted to detectives.

2 years ago

'Bring Isa Home' music video shoot

TUCSON - A new song has been written to raise awareness about Isabel's disappearance and there's a music video too.

The song is called 'Bring Isa Home'. Some 200 people, showed up to appear in the video.

Purple shirts, purple balloons Isabel's favorite color.

"All I want is for her to come back home," said Marina Wilbur who works with Isabel's mom.

The song's message, mimics her own, "Please don't stop looking for her, keep working together. We'll find her, please don't stop, don't give up."

The song was written and recorded by the Tucson group The Flight Team.

Their goal is radio play both locally and nationally to help spread the word of the first graders disappearance.

"We want to make the video a visual to the lyrics so they can see how it's impacting our community," said Mic Ortiz.

The video's director Mike Shahin almost turned the project down, "And then they sent me the final version of the song and that's what did it. Because I heard the effort and the singer did a beautiful job on the hook."

The video wrapped, with hundred of balloons flying high. For each person in attendance, releasing the balloons held a special meaning

"That where ever she is, that she will see the balloons," said Jackie Rivero.

"Just wishes, everybody's wishes to have Isa come home," says another participant.

The director expects to have the video completed by weeks end. We'll be sure to link it to kvoa.com with our continuing coverage of finding Isabel.

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2 years ago

Police: Surveillance video released last week was of the wrong night

TUCSON - Tucson Police say the video released last week in an attempt to identify individuals with possible information about the Isabel Celis case was from the wrong night.

In a 2 p.m. news conference, Tucson Police spokesperson Sgt. Fabian Pacheco confirmed the video released to the public late last week was taken from the evening of Saturday, April 21, into the morning of Sunday, April 22 - 24 hours after Isabel Celis disappeared from an east side home.

Sgt. Pacheco said the video, provided by a company near the Celis house with a 24-hour surveillance camera, was not time-stamped. Police have requested video from the evening of Friday, April 20, and the morning of Saturday, April 21, and the company is working to provide that video, Sgt. Pacheco says.

2 years ago

Becky and Sergio Celis attend special mass

TUCSON - Isabel Celis' parents attended a special mass for their missing daughter Sunday evening.

Hundreds came to St. Joseph Catholic Church to pray for the girl's safe return.

Isabel's parents, Becky and Sergio, wore purple because it is Isabel's favorite color.

The parents hugged dozens of people during the service.

Tucson's Bishop Gerald Kicanas was in Rome but sent a letter.

"We extend to the Celis family our support and promise of continued prayers until Isabel is returned," Kicanas wrote. "All in our community stand in solidarity with Sergio and Becky Celis and their sons, Julian and Sergio, during this agonizing time."

Cousins brought Isa's little league hat and teddy bear to the front of the church during the service.

2 years ago

Song for Isabel Celis, written and recorded by Tucsonans

TUCSON - A song has been written to help raise awareness about the disappearance of Isabel Celis. It was written and recorded by local artists.

A beautiful melody, with a touching message.

"Who ever has her, who ever knows anything about where she might be, for it to touch their heart and soften their heart for them to come forward," artist Mic Ortiz says.

The idea for the song came naturally for the group, known as The Flight Team.

"If anything ever happened to my little girl I would want the community to go out and basically do what ever they can to bring her home," Yung Joe says.

Lil Zay adds, "That's really why we're doing this song, is to support."

The group's manager, Octavio Corrales works at the same hospital as Isabel's mom.

It was his first time hearing the track.

"I like it, it's beautiful," says Corrales, wiping away tears "It puts a story and a life to the face everyone sees on the flyers, you know?"

Needing a woman's voice on the record, they called up vocalist Adilene Muraz, "I'm actually honored to be in it, cause it's awesome."

As it turns out Muraz also knows the Celis family, the connection was known after she was brought on to sing the part.

"Isabels' family is actually from Douglas and her uncles I went to school with," she adds.

It's those small connections they say that makes the project personal and even more special.

A musical avenue to get the word out.

"I think that's going to give them hope, that we're going to bring Isa home. We're not going to try, we're going to do it, and she's going to come home," says Corrales.

To accompany the song's debut, they're filming a music video Monday evening.

And extras are needed.

If you'd like to be involved, filming begins at 6pm at the volunteer command center, located at Broadway and Craycroft.

Extras are asked to wear a purple t-shirt, or one with Isabel's picture if you have one.

2 years ago

Mother of missing child relates to Isabel's disappearance

TUCSON - It's now been nine days since Isabel Celis disappeared from her house. Gail Leland, knows all too well what the Celis family is going through.

She went through it when her own son Richard disappeared in 1981. The pain and the anguish came back when she learned about little Isabel's disappearance. "It also brought back memories not only of my son missing but all the families I've worked with since then."

Leland talks about the helpless feeling parents have. "I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I paced the floor. On one hand you want to go searching for them and then on the other hand you want to stay home and be there in case they come or call."

Leland says her heart goes out to the parents and family of Isabel Celis. She says they're probably frustrated because police are giving out limited information. "The police are probably just as frustrated, because they are doing stuff behind the scenes but they can't tell you what it is."

She has some advice for the parents, eat, try to get some sleep, and never give up hope. "You got to take care of yourself because she's going to come home and she's going to need you. And she's going to need you to be strong and healthy."

Leland commends the Tucson Police Department and their efforts in finding Isabel Celis. She says the technology and the methods of investigating missing children have come a long way since her son disappeared.

Richard Leland's remains were found a month after he disappeared. Gail Leland started parents of murdered children, which then became homicide survivors. Due to health reasons she retired as executive director.

2 years ago

Day 9 of Isabel Celis search: volunteer efforts take to church

TUCSON - Once again the volunteer command post for missing girl Isabel Celis was ready to go early Sunday morning.

Sunday's focus for volunteers was going to church and posting flyers there.

After raising more than $2,200 this weekend in fundraisers, volunteers decided to focus on prayer and to bringing little Isa home safe.

Christian Faith Fellowship is right across the street from Isabel's neighborhood. The parking lot was filled with cars with Isabel's flyers posted on their windshields.

That is where we found an emotional Mike Ronquillo. "It touches my heart as well as a lot of people that a 6-year-old is missing out there," said Ronquillo.

He said he has a granddaughter that age and puts himself in the Celis family's shoes. "I don't know what to do. I pass by the house. I pray. I look in certain areas. I look at all kids faces to try to recognize. I feel so so insignificant. What can I do to help out with this search," said Ronquillo.

He said all he can do is pray and post these flyers. "We're consistently in prayer that she find her way home," said Hank Embleton who attended mass at the Christian church.

Embleton said he feels for the Celis family. "It's like right in our neighborhood here and it's tough," said Embleton.

At Craycroft Baptist Church also down the street from Isabel's neighborhood, the congregation said they're shook up by the whole situation.

"I can't imagine my daughter missing," said Victor Marcantonio.

Those we spoke to that belong to the congregation said they just can't believe it's been more than a week, so they hold hands and hope for the best.

"Praying that wherever she's at, she will be in God's hands," said Jeff Barns.

2 years ago

2 more interviewed in case of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis

TUCSON - In today's briefing, Tucson Police say 2 more people from the 5 people they were looking for in the earlier released video have been interviewed. 1 person self-identified himself yesterday and was interviewed as well. That means there are still 2 more people from the video police would like to speak to as soon as possible.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco said TPD will now conduct only one press briefing a day at 2 p.m. They are continuing to receive tips, but it has slowed down. Therefore, they are encouraging anyone with information to call 88-CRIME or through Tip-Soft that lets anyone send anonymous crime tips through an Android or iPhone app. If you don't have a smartphone, you can also send a text to CRIMES or 274637.

Pacheco says they are not going to show all their cards in this investigation for understandable reasons. 10-13 FBI agents are still working the case and they have received more than 350 tips thus far.

The parents of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis are still fully cooperating with police and speak to them on a daily basis. They have not returned home, even though they are welcome to do so.

Detectives are currently going back and listening to all previous interviews and developing a strategy for moving forward in this investigation.

Any updates will be posted right here on our website as well as our News4Tucson Facebook page, Twitter and our smartphone and tablet app.

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2 years ago

Tucson Police set to give update on Isabel Celis case

TUCSON - The Tucson Police Department has scheduled another news conference on the Isabel Celis case for 2 p.m. Sunday.

Isabel was last seen on Friday, April 20th when her parents put her to bed around 11 p.m. She was reporting missing Saturday, April 21st around 8 a.m.

Tucson Police, FBI and U.S. Marshals have been working around the clock to find the 6-year-old girl.

Volunteers have also been distributing thousands of fliers and holding events to get the word about Isabel.

You can watch the 2 p.m. news conference live on our website: kvoa.com/livestream.

2 years ago

Tucson police release new information about Isabel Celis case

TUCSON - Tucson Police say one person has come forward, who self-identified themselves from surveillance video released by police Friday.

The cameras captured five individuals, three women and two men walking on the east side of St. Joseph's Church last Saturday. The church is located in the area of Broadway and Craycroft. Authorities hope to piece together the timeline of Isabel Celis' disappearance. Police say they are in the process of interviewing the individual and hope to identify the others in his group.

Sgt. Fabian Pacheco says the efforts to find Isabel are not focused on any one avenue and detectives are considering all options.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, police say 28 tips have been reported through 911, 88-CRIME and the new TipSoft program.

TipSoft is for those who would like to report a tip through texting on their cell phone. Police are averaging eight to 10 tips per hour.

To report a tip specific to the Isabel Celis case, enter "TucsonPD5265".

The reward for information in the case is $50,000.

2 years ago

Celis investigation starts 2nd week

TUCSON - Tucson Police have not announced any developments this morning in the case of missing child Isabel Celis.

Friday, though, TPD released surveillance video seeking information on 5 people they termed "potential witnesses". These 5 were seen walking in the area between 1 and 1:30 early Saturday morning on April 21st. Police believe the group may have been leaving the area of the Cactus Moon nightclub or Risky Business Restaurant and Bar.

Tucson police believed the 5 to be two males and three females who were walking east along the northern side of Saint Joseph's Catholic Church near Broadway and Craycroft.
Police say they may have information that could be crucial to their investigation

Additionally, Tucson Police are seeking video or photos from parents and visitors at Freedom Park last Friday April 20th. Police say there are no video cameras in place at parks so parents who may have snapped or recorded anything should come forward, even if they don't think they captured anything important.

Isabel was at that ballpark watching a game with her family last Friday evening. She was reported missing the next morning.

Tucson Police have scheduled a media briefing for 2pm this afternoon. You can watch this at KVOA.com. www.kvoa.com/livestream

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2 years ago

Police using new procedure for tips in missing girl case

TUCSON - Tucson Police have started using a new tech tool to help them locate six-year-old Isabel Celis.

TipSoft is a program that allows anyone to send anonymous tips to police through Android or Iphone apps. People can also send a text to "CRIMES" (274637). The text should begin with the keyword "TucsonPD."

The specific keyword "TucsonPD 5625" is being used for the Celis investigation.

The service, which is an element of Crime Stoppers, allows anonymous communication by sending text messages through a secure server with a unique identification. This shields the identity of the sender.

TipSoft was originally planned to be used for less pressing crime reports, such as vandalism, theft, cold cases or drug related incidents. However, anyone with information related to the disappearance of the little girl is urged to use the "text-a-tip" technology.

Further information and instructions on TipSoft can be found on the home page of the Tucson Police Department Website (cms3.tucsonaz.gov/police), under the "submit a tip" option.

2 years ago

TPD looking for 5 possible witnesses to missing girl case

TUCSON - Just shy of a week and still no sign of 6-year old Isabel celis. She's been missing from her east side home since late Friday or early Saturday morning.

Tucson police are looking for five people believed to be two males and three females who were walking east along the northern side of Saint Joseph's Catholic church between 1 and 1:30 early Saturday morning on April 21st. Police believe the group may have been leaving the area of the Cactus Moon nightclub or Risky Business Restaurant and Bar.

Police say they may have information that could be crucial to their investigation.

Saint Joseph's Church is where the Celis family worships. They have posted a sign for all to see "Pray for the safe return of the Isabel Celis."

Linda Pike lives down the street from the Celis family, she says, "I know in my heart she's going to come home."

A picture a little Isabel is on the Pikes front door. They've lived the neighborhood for 16 years. David Pike says, " When she moved in she was in a stroller we watched her get to six years old"
So imagine the horror the Pikes felt when Isabel's older brother came to their house in a panic looking for his baby sister last Saturday. "The panic, the sheer terror was already there, the helpless feeling."

The Pikes say in their opinion too many people are speculating as to what happened. Linda Pike says, "That doesn't matter we have to focus on the victims and that's Isabel and her family and they need all our love and support that we can get them.

David Pike agrees he also says the public should be supporting Tucson police he says they've come to his house and the neighbors house numerous times. "That's a minor inconvenience that's nothing to put up with I feel like they are doing a great job and they will bring Isabel home."

The Pikes say the Celis family is very loving and very caring. They moved into the neighborhood so they could be closer to one of their mother's who suffered a stroke.

The Pikes say their heart goes out to the Celis family.

2 years ago

TImeline into Isabel Celis' disappearance

TUCSON-It's been almost a week since little Isabel's disappearance, but police continue to follow up on over 300 leads they've accumulated from several sources from family, friends, neighbors, businesses, even people claiming to be psychics.

The nightmare started Saturday morning, April 21, when six-year-old Isabel Celis' family realized she was not in her bedroom.

"We're all really surprised and shocked that anything like this could even happen to our family," said Isabel's uncle Justin Mastomarino.

Police were called at 8:14 a.m.

"We have bloodhounds that are checking the area as well to pick up the scent of the little girl," said Sgt. Maria Hawke with Tucson police.

Police canvassed the area within a three mile radius of Isabel's home on the 56 hundred block of East 12th street.

Police called the event a suspicious disappearance or possible abduction and said they were not ruling anyone out.

Family and friends quickly printed out flyers to spread the word that little Isabel went missing.

On day two, as the search efforts continued, police chief Roberto Villasenor held a news conference to discuss the latest.

He said parents were cooperating with police and registered sex offenders were being interviewed but still no one suspect.

Canines from the FBI in Virginia were flown in to aid in the search.

Day three, police continued their serach of the Los Reales landfill for any evidence.

By day 4, the search phase started winding down, so that police could regroup and investigate over 200 leads.

On day 5, Isabel's parents made an emotional statement.

"We are looking for you Isa. We love you and we miss you sooo much and we will never give we will never give up looking for you," said Sergio Celis, Isabel's father.

By day 6, police focused their search on parks and bodies of water to look for evidence.

"To make sure that we do a comprehensive search and nothing is left out," said Lt. Fabian Pacheco with Tucson police.

On day 7, police are looking for potential witnesses to come forward, and they ask for any video from the baseball game where Isabel was present that Friday the night before she vanished.

After 7 days, police said they have a tremendous amount of information that they are going through and although they cannot go into detail, they said they feel they have made progress compared to the first few days of the investigation.

2 years ago

Authorities at border search for Isabel

NOGALES - Authorities investigating the disappearance of Isabel Celis have said they haven't ruled anything out in her disappearance and that includes their search efforts along the southern border.

At the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Customs and Border Protection officers are keeping the missing six-year-old in mind as they observe southbound traffic, "all of our officers are aware of the situation and they're making every effort to look for her," said Juan Osorio, a spokesman for the agency.

Flyers with the little girl's face were shown to officers beginning on Saturday and are prominently displayed at the port, "there's always the possibility of people being taken out of the country at the northern/southern border airport or seaport," Osorio explained.

Jim Hill and his brother Mike Brevik, from Tombstone, saw flyers posted in Nogales, Sonora, "I saw actually a little kid with flyers handing them out to the cab drivers," Hill said.

Isabel's picture and reward information are also posted on shops along Morley Avenue near the pedestrian port of entry, "it's just a really sad situation but I'm glad to see that people on both sides are literally stepping up on this one," Hill said.

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2 years ago

TPD seeks group that may have info on Isabel Celis disappearance

TUCSON - Tucson Police Detectives have learned five people (two men, three women) may have information about the disappearance of Isabel Celis, which occurred between the hours of 11:00 p.m. on April 20, 2012 and 8:00 a.m. on April 21, 2012.

Detectives believe the group was walking along the north side of Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, located at 215 South Craycroft Road at approximately 1:00 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday heading into the Celis' neighborhood, possibly via East Cooper Street.

Given the time of morning, the group may have been leaving the area of the Cactus Moon Nightclub or Risky Business Restaurant and Bar, both of which are located across South Craycroft Road.

The Tucson Police Department urges the members of the group to call 911 or 88-CRIME as soon as possible.

Tips can be left with 88-CRIME after hours on their website, located at:

http://88crime.org/

Below is a Google Map showing the approximate location of the group of possible witnesses

NewsMap

View Larger Map

Pictured: A Google Maps Street View image of the location where Tucson Police believe a group of possible witnesses walked last Friday night.

2 years ago

Police looking for video from Freedom Park taken last Friday night

TUCSON - More details were revealed on last night's search at Lakeside Park at this morning's briefing by Tucson Police Department.

Lieutenant Fabian Pacheco said a tip led TPD to join forces with the Pima County Sheriff's Department, and search bodies of water throughout the city.

In addition to Lakeside Park, investigators searched Reid Park Lake, Kennedy Park, and Columbus Park. Pacheco said special underwater sonar belonging to the Pima County Sheriff was used to look for evidence, but nothing significant was found in any of the water searches.

KVOA was at the media briefing and asked Pacheco if investigators were more confident today, on day 7 of the search, than they were on day 1.

According to Pacheco, "a tremendous amount of information" has been generated in the last 7 days. He said based on the leads, law enforcement has made quite a bit of progress but it takes time to go through it all.

"I know that it's frustrating, but believe us, we continue to do everything to bring back Isabel and I would say progress remains steady and consistent."

Pacheco also discussed the involvement of law enforcement from across the border in this investigation and said TPD is working with U.S. Marshals who in turn are working with Mexican authorities.

Mexican law enforcement is checking hotels, restaurants, and bus terminals looking for Isabel, and pictures of Isabel are being shown in those areas.

Pacheco would not go into detail on some of the rumored aspects of the investigation including whether or not family members had been administered a polygraph test.

Rather he reminded that law enforcement has several resources and assets and they are using all of them. And regarding the polygraph test specifically, he told the press: "I will just stop short of confirming that we have done that."

And more than once Pacheco made a request to parents who were in Freedom Park last Friday evening. He asked that anyone who took taken photos or videos, to please come forward and show them to police. Pacheco said there are not video cameras in place at parks so parents who may have snapped or recorded anything should come forward, even if they don't think they captured anything important.

Isabel was at that ballpark watching a game with her family last Friday evening. She was reported missing the next morning. The next hearing is at 6 P.M.

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2 years ago

Lakeside Park search wraps, no sign of Isabel

TUCSON - Six miles from where Isabel Celis disappeared, the extensive search for the Pima County Search and Rescue Dive Team's found nothing.

The pontoon boat was launched Thursday afternoon.

Pima County Sheriff Rescue Team circled the lake for about two and a half hours. The boat is equipped with sonar and an underwater camera.

"I think we would be remiss if we didn't search all those areas that could possibly be a location to hide evidence," says Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor. "If anything looks amiss, if there's any sign of entry into the lake or vehicles driven close to the lake or something of that nature."

As the boat floated looking for the missing six-year-old, residents looked on.

One resident said, "It just makes me sad that someone could harm the child."

As day six of the search ended, law enforcement is able to put to bed any doubts whether or not this lake holds any secret investigation of the missing six-year-old. TPD was also on scene and they say the amount of cooperation they have received from other law enforcement agencies has been great.

The next news conference update from TPD will be Friday morning at 8 a.m. and we will be streaming it live at kvoa.com.

2 years ago

Day 6: Search for Isabel Celis

TUCSON - Police said about 50 investigators and 30 officers are combing through pin-pointed areas that include bodies of water and parks for any evidence that could be associated with this case.

Police are on day six of their search efforts in finding little Isabel Celis.

"I think we'd be remiss if we didn't search all those areas that could possibly be an area that hides evidence," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

Chief Villasenor said the lead sheets that police have compiled from interviewing neighbors, businesses and the community have been beneficial.

He said it's key to discuss them in briefings to decide what's important.

"We sit down. We prioritized areas that we think could potentially be some places that we need to make sure that we checked off the list and then we will go use our resources to search that," he said.

Chief Villasenor said they have spoken to all registered sex offenders in the area but are still looking at anyone as a possible person of interest.

Police said they're confident that they have interviewed everyone in the area, but they said if anyone feels they have been missed and have information for the police call 88-CRIME.

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2 years ago

Search teams finish work at Lakeside Park

TUCSON - Search teams on the scene of Lakeside Park ended their search Thursday evening without finding anything.

News 4 Tucson's Lupita Murillo was the first on the scene as crews started the search the area around the water at the park.

Search teams eventually brought in a boat equipped with sonar and camera equipment, but said they did not find anything and did not plan to return to the park.

In a news conference earlier Thursday evening, Tucson Police confirmed the search at Lakeside Park was connected to the Isabel Celis case, but pointed out this was not the only body of water that had been searched.

Police say they continue to follow all possible leads in the search for Isabel.

2 years ago

Police search Lakeside Park

TUCSON- Thursday Tucson police and deputies launched a boat into the lake at Lakeside park on the city's east side.

2 years ago

Community fans out with flyers for Isabel

TUCSON - Volunteers from all over Southern Arizona are doing what they can to help in the search for missing Isabel Celis. The six-year-old disappeared from her east side home sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Melissa Hodges is a friend of Isabel's mom and spending her free time at the volunteer tent located at the intersection of Broadway Boulevard and Craycroft Road. "We want to get the news out there that she could be anywhere and we will search everywhere in Tucson, Arizona and in the United States," she said.

More than 100,000 flyers have been printed out, Hodges said volunteers have come from all over Southern Arizona including as far south as Douglas, Sierra Vista, Nogales and up north to Phoenix. There are reports of flyers being printed out and distributed all over the country.

Sue Briefer lives on the north side of Tucson and stopped by the volunteer tent Thursday afternoon to pick up flyers, "The whole situation hits really close to home. My kids are older but I can't even imagine what the family is going through."

Friends, family and perfect strangers are among the volunteers distributing the flyers. Hodges said, "We will do anything we can to bring her back. The whole entire city, state and nation is behind us and her. It's all about Isa and will always, always be about Isa."

Donations are also being accepted. On Saturday, the Auto Zone, located at 4451 E. 22nd street will host a car wash to raise money between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Also, this Saturday, the Cinnabon at 5870 E. Broadway Blvd., will donate 20 percent of its sales to the Tucson Medical Center search fund. If you'd like to participate, you can visit the eatery between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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2 years ago

Isabel Celis search gets help from billboard in Phoenix

PHOENIX - A billboard has gone up in Phoenix in an effort to help find missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

The billboard went up along Interstate 10 near Elliott Road in Phoenix. A post on the "Find Isabel Celis" Facebook page states the digital display was created and set up by American Outdoor Digital Display, and it will be up until at least the end of the month.

Efforts are underway to raise funds to have one installed along I-10 and Ina here in Tucson.

2 years ago

Police provide little new information in latest update

TUCSON - Police provided little new information in their latest 8 a.m. news briefing on the Isabel Celis disappearance, saying that they are sifting through hundreds of pages of tips for information.

Now that the Tucson Police command center has been moved out of the east side, and the neighborhood where the Celis family resides has been completely reopened, police spokesperson Fabian Pacheco requested that media respect private property in the neighborhood.

Pacheco said TPD experienced a bump in the number of tips after the parents made a plea for the safe return of their 6-year-old daughter yesterday afternoon. They are currently going through hundreds of pages of tips, Pacheco said, adding that they have lots of information to sift through.

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2 years ago

Tucson Police give update in Isabel Celis case

TUCSON - Tucson Police have now received more than 300 leads into the disappearance of Isabel Celis.

At Wednesday night's 8 p.m. briefing, Police said the family is allowed to return to the home, but as of the latest news conference, had not done so. They did say they still need to talk to family members to share additional information with them to determine if they need to talk to anyone else.

Police did say the Behavioral Analysis Unit may or may not talk to the family directly, but is already working to review interviews and the scene.

Police are also reviewing reports of the dogs barking early in the morning when Isabel was discovered missing and say neighbors told them the dogs barked frequently.

In the last update, Tucson Police also confirmed that the reward for information leading to a resolution to this case has risen to $30,000.

Police say the next news conference will be held Thursday morning at 8 a.m.

2 years ago

Is surveillance video key to solving missing girl investigation?

TUCSON - Police are investigating hundreds of leads regarding the disppearance of Isabel Celis, but one business in the area may have a big key to help solve the puzzle.

Rick Moore of Moore Security Solutions has surveillance cameras placed right outside his company--a company that is just feet away from Isabel Celis' family home.

Rick Moore said his cameras were on the watch the night Isabel disappeared.

"And the cameras that we have located in the back were looking where a lot of things were happening," said Moore.

Moore said he believes these cameras provide more information to police than any other nearby camera because of their location.

"In terms of maybe license plate numbers, cars going by - these cameras also have infrared technology so you can see at nighttime and that will help too, since the abduction occurred between 11 and 8 o'clock," said Moore.

Moore said on Saturday, his general manager spent about five hours with police, showing them surveillance video of the area, and on Monday, they were back again to review video and get a copy of activity from 10 p.m. Friday night to 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

"There was activity going on," he said. "There were vehicles...there were people wandering around. There were things that we saw and we did get recorded so that information we did release to the police."

But police didn't just resort to businesses for information. They have been surveying neighborhoods within a three-mile radius of the Celis home.

"It's very sad. We've raised two girls in this house and we think it's a safe neighborhood but sometimes you need to reconsider what your original thoughts were," said Bob Kovitz, who lives in the three-mile radius.

A nearby business we spoke to tells us that Saturday morning, a boy was walking around asking people at some of the stores if they had seen little Isabel.

He was in tears, and they assumed he was Isabel's brother.

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2 years ago

Celis parents plea for daughter's return

TUCSON - The mother and father of Isabel Celis separately spoke in front of those gathered at the Tucson Police command center, pleading for the return of their daughter in both English and Spanish.

Surrounded by supporters in "Bring Isa Home" t-shirts, Rebecca and Sergio Celis appeared at 2 p.m., standing in front of the command center set up by Tucson Police near the east side neighborhood where their 6-year-old daughter went missing Friday night.

Rebecca spoke first, thanking the detectives, the community, and millions worldwide for their support, then saying: "We do not want the focus to be taken off Isabel by us being in front of the cameras or by the media. We are here today to plea for a safe return of our baby girl Isabel."

After she repeated her statement in Spanish, Sergio Celis, Isabel's father, spoke.

"We are cooperating to the fullest extent with the investigation," he said. "We are increasing the reward. Just please, please, to the person or persons who have Isabel: tell us your demands. Tell us what you want. We will do anything for her. We are looking - we are looking for you Isa. We love, and we miss you so much. We will never give up. We will never give up looking for you."

2 years ago

Celis family to speak at 2 p.m. today

TUCSON - The Celis family will be making a statement to the media at 2 p.m. today.

Tucson Police confirmed the family will be speaking at the Command Post set up near the east side neighborhood where 6-year-old Isabel Celis disappeared from last Friday night.

TPD confirms that the family will not be taking questions, but will be speaking briefly to the media.

News 4 Tucson will air the statement on Channel 4 and live-stream the statement on KVOA.com - click here to open the KVOA.com live stream page.

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2 years ago

Chief Roberto Villasenor: 'We still have hope'

TUCSON - Determination to find Isabel Celis is strong.

It's day five of the search for the missing six year old, and at a press conference this morning Tucson Police Chief, Roberto Villasenor said his department is hopeful that they will find Isabel alive and bring her home.

Villasenor says TPD and FBI are working closely together and looking at all possibilities. Another search of the home was done last night with members of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit.

The house is still under the control of Tucson Police and isn't likely to be returned until later this morning or early afternoon. The street to the house also remains closed.

It was also announced that the landfill search is complete at this time but police will be searching drainage areas and washes throughout the city.

Responding to questions from the media, Chief Villasenor addressed the open window in Isabel's bedroom saying, "We've never said the window was the point of entry."

Right now the Celis family, including the couple's two sons, is all together and everyone remains hopeful for the return of Isabel.

The next press conference is at noon, and we will bring it to you on News 4 at Noon.

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2 years ago

Police give update on missing girl case

TUCSON - Tucson Police provided new information at 8 p.m. Tuesday evening regarding the disappearance of Isabel Celis.

Police say they have "refreshed" the search warrant on the family home. TPD says this is being done in order for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit to go inside the home and evaluate it.

TPD also says the family continues to be cooperative.

Meanwhile, police say they will scale back their search operations and continue to focus on the investigative portion of this case. Investigators have mostly completed a canvas within a 3 mile radius of the home. Search operations will continue to be revised as warranted, which means they could revisit some areas if they receive information to do so.

Police have received more than 250 leads and are following up on all of them.

Police do not plan to have another update on this case until Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m., unless there are major developments.

Please stay with News 4 Tucson for all of the latest developments.

2 years ago

Police: Search phase winding down; now investigating some 260 leads

TUCSON - Police are winding down search operations and ramping up the investigation phase into the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

At a 4 p.m. news conference, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said they have completed searching the Los Reales landfill and will be shutting down the operation there.

By tonight, police will significantly reduce staff searching the area around the east side neighborhood where Isabel was last seen.

"We've hit every area we can find," Chief Villasenor said, noting their search teams have searched some areas three or four times.

A team will remain at the command center set up near Broadway and Craycroft, and will instead focus on investigating some 260 leads that have come in since Saturday, when Isabel was first reported missing.

Villasenor said that there is a continued flow of information to 88-CRIME, the tip line for local law enforcement.

The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit has arrived, and investigators are sharing all information related to this case with them.

Chief Villasenor reiterated that Tucson Police have remained in contact with the Celis family, and they have been cooperating fully with investigators.

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2 years ago

TPD: Isabel Celis is highest-profile case for national missing child center

TUCSON - The case of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis is currently the highest-profile case being worked on by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor provided an update at 10 a.m. this morning, which included details on the role that the national organization has played in assisting this investigation. The case was immediately placed on the national center's website, and the group is expected to help distribute over 10,000 missing child flyers.

Chief Villasenor also clarified the different roles that three canine units have played in the case. The first canine unit, brought in by the Arizona Department of Corrections, has been trained to follow and locate the victim's odor.

One of the two canine units brought in by the FBI have been trained to search for an odor left by the suspect, or offender. The other canine unit brought by the FBI, referred to as a "cadaver dog" is specially trained to detect the odor of human decomposition, Chief Villasenor said.

Chief Villasenor also clarified that there is a total $6,000 reward being offered through TPD's anonymous tip line, 88-CRIME. The reward is offered for information that leads to the "successful resolution to this investigation," he said.

Tune in to News 4 Tucson at Noon for Tucson Police's next update regarding this investigation.

Click here to download and print an Isabel Celis poster from the center.

Other posters from individuals and organizations can be found on our Isabel Celis Full Coverage page.

2 years ago

RAW VIDEO: TPD: Finished searching Celis home

TUCSON - Overnight, investigators finished a second search of the Celis home, and will soon allow the family back inside.

Detectives may consider opening up the street in the east side neighborhood where the Celis home is located, said Sgt. Marco Barboa at an 8 a.m. news conference regarding the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis, missing since Friday night.

"We had a few leads we wanted to follow up in the daytime hours, plus any that came up this morning" through 911 or TPD's anonymous tip line: 88-CRIME.

An anonymous donor has given $5,000 to 88-CRIME to add to the $1,000 reward offered by the service for information leading to the discovery of Isabel Celis, and/or an arrest.

Stay tuned to News 4 Tucson at 10 a.m. for a live-stream of Tucson Police's next news conference.

2 years ago

TPD urges patience during Celis investigation

TUCSON - Tucson Police urge the community to "be patient" as the investigation of missing Isabel Celis proceeds. TPD says they must be thorough in the investigation.

TPD says an investigative briefing scheduled for 7 a.m. will determine how the investigation will go for the day. Sgt. Marco Borboa also says the Celis family can return to their home when they are ready. Officers will also continue searching the Los Reales landfill today, looking for evidence or anything suspicious that could be related to this case.

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2 years ago

TPD latest on search for Isabel Celis

TUCSON - Tucson Police will not hold a 2 a.m. conference, but they did tell News-Four Tucson that officials have finished searching the Celis' home and that the family can return in the morning.

Isabel was last seen Friday night, and reported missing Saturday morning.

Stay with News-Four Tucson for the latest developments on this case.

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2 years ago

Finding Isabel: Police continue door to door search

TUCSON - Tucson Police continue to knock on doors throughout the night near Isabel's home.
Officers are covering every inch of the community to see if anyone knows anything. "As far as, did I see her," said neighbor Diana Corr.

Police are spending about 5 to 10 minutes at each home in the community. Tucson Police say if someone's not home or doesn't answer, they'll come back later. Neighbors say they understand. "Absolutely, absolutely," said Corr.

Police also say as a matter of normal procedure, they are also looking for surveillance video that might help them in the case, but would not say if they have found any at this time.

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2 years ago

Police give 8 p.m. update on Isabel Celis case

TUCSON - At the 8 p.m. news conference about the disappearance of Isabel Celis, Tucson Police announced that investigators completed the search of the landfill for the day at about 4:30 p.m. The search will continue Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. and is expected to wrap up about 2:30p.m., at which time police will announce if anything significant was found.

Meanwhile, detectives will remain on the scene throughout the night, including some who will continue to make contact with those living in the neighborhood who may not have been home during the first days of the search for Isabel.

Tucson Police did say officers, as a matter of normal procedure are searching the area for surveillance video that might help them in this case, but would not say if they have found any at this time.

TPD also said a second search of the Celis property Monday was prompted by an alert by an FBI canine team. That was used as the basis for obtaining another search warrant and that search was ongoing as of 8 p.m.

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2 years ago

Community comes together to help find Isabel Celis

TUCSON - Community members came out in full force Monday to see what they could do to help bring Isabel Celis home. Some distributed fliers, some volunteered and others donated money.

Local resident, mom and family friend, Molly Bednar, says she's still in shock.

"It's just horrible. I don't even know how to describe it. You know I've got my own kids. They're supposed to be safe in their home."

In the shopping center at Broadway and Craycroft, fliers have been posted everywhere. Family friends like Cabrena Blackburne, picked some up this morning.

"We thought we'd come out as a community and get some fliers and post them up around our neighborhood and try and get the word out."

Tucson Medical Center set up a fund to help the family pay for the search costs. It launched Monday morning and has already been successful.

"We've already received a number of contributions toward the fund for the family. Our employees are stepping up with their own payroll deductions, so there has been a tremendous amount of outpouring of support already," said Michael Duran with Tucson Medical Center.

Additionally, the family's Church, St. Joseph, is also keeping busy helping out.

"Parishioners have been coming and calling. Asking if they can do anything. Provide food, water for the family," Fr. Miguel Mariano said.

Authorities are currently urging the public not to get involved in any search parties. They said the best thing for the community to do, is to spread the word about Isabel through social media and through the printed fliers.

If you're interested in the Tucson Medical Center fund, go to: https://www.tmcaz.com/TMCFoundation/

2 years ago

School offers counseling to Isabel's classmates

TUCSON - Crisis counselors were deployed to Academy of Tucson Monday where Isabel Celis is enrolled as a first-grader.

The 6-year-old was reported missing from her east side home Saturday morning.

Cynthia Dowdell leads a critical incident management stress team and said, "this is a very frightening situation for children because they don't know the circumstances of what's taken place and so there is a lot of fear."

Isabel's disappearance is being described as a high emotion situation that needs to be stabilized and though, a difficult time, would require that students continue to focus on their studies, "I think that parents and children think, 'Could this happen to me? Could this happen to our family?' It heightens people's awareness."

Dowdell said it is normal for children to ask questions about Isabel's disappearance that's why counselors would be made available. The students would be given the opportunity to express their emotions and, with counselors, and come up with a plan for coping. However, parents would need to watch their child's behaviors, "children can be very irritable and also take out some of that irritability and fear. And sometimes fear looks like anger and they can take that anger out on their parents as well."

A press release issued Sunday night by Academy of Tucson said Isabel had other family members attending their middle and high schools and that counselors were going to be available for students at the middle school.

2 years ago

RAW VIDEO: Tucson Police updates missing girl case in latest conference

TUCSON - The Tucson Police Department says that they have secured the Celis house during their search for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

In a press conference held at 2 p.m. today, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said that they plan to get a search warrant to go back in to look for more evidence, saying that consent to search the home by the family could be questioned at a later date. Villasenor said that the family has cooperated fully with the investigation.

"The reality of the situation is that these are painstaking police investigations that are very complex, they require a lot of good old fashioned police work - dredging through the details," Chief Villasenor said.

Chief Villasenor said that in addition to the FBI providing two specialized search dogs, they have also brought in their Behavioral Analysis Unit, which "provides insight on what to look for in an individual."
The FBI's search dog did "alert" on a scent sometime between late last night and early this morning but Tucson Police would not provide any details at this time.

Police have also secured the landfill where the neighborhood's trash would have been dropped off, and are searching for possible leads there.

"I'm hoping my best that the child is alive," Chief Villasenor said. "We're going to work on the premise that the child is alive until proven otherwise. We want to remain hopeful. We want Isabel to return home safely."

The Chief of Police is asking for anyone who may have a lead in the case to call 88-CRIME or 911. For more on the search for Isabel, please continue to follow us at the link below.

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2 years ago

Police: Detectives still investigating all tips coming in

TUCSON - In their latest update to the media, Tucson Police say they are continuing to search a three-mile wide radius around the home of missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

TPD's Fabian Pacheco says they have identified 17 sex offenders in this area and are checking in on all of them.

They are also searching one of the landfills due to a garbage pickup in the neighborhood over the weekend.

Teams of detectives are also following up on all leads that come in, including tips to their anonymous tip line.

"Anything that comes in, we are responding to it quickly," said Lt. Pacheco.

TPD says that the Celis family is cooperating with detectives, and they have been moved from their house to an undisclosed location.

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2 years ago

TMC establishes fund for missing 6-year-old

TUCSON - Tucson Medical Center has established a special fund to assist the search for Isabel Celis and to support her family during this time.

To donate to this fund, click here:

https://www.tmcaz.com/TMCFoundation/HowYouCanHelp/GivingOnline

Under the "Gift Options" section, select the "Isabel Mercedes Celis Fund" as the option for "Use this gift for."

Money raised from donations to this fund will go to assist the search for Isabel Celis and to support the family of the 6-year-old, who has been missing since Friday night.

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2 years ago

Police: 'Everyone is a person of interest' in case of missing girl

TUCSON - In their latest update to the media, Tucson Police say they are continuing to investigate and follow potential leads regarding the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

At 10 a.m. today, Tucson Police Chief Villasenor said they are still keeping all their options open at this point, and everyone involved is considered a person of interest.

Two dogs from the FBI are in Tucson, specifically trained in searched urban areas, Villasenor said. One dog is training in tracking scents, the other is a cadaver-sniffing dog.

Over 100 officers remain on this case, and their review of surveillance video from businesses in the area has not yet yielded results. Officers have also checked the nearby landfill, as trash has been collected since Celis went missing.

No ransom note has been left, and no ransom demand has been received by the family at this time, Villasenor said.

2 years ago

RAW VIDEO: Police track over 100 leads in missing girl case

TUCSON - In this raw video clip, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor answers questions from the media regarding the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

Chief Villasenor says that over the past 48 hours, they have tracked over 100 leads that they have received, making sure that they have thoroughly investigated every possibility.

Answering a question as to why an Amber Alert has not yet been issued, Chief Villa senor said: "We don't know exactly what we're dealing with yet, so an Amber Alert would not have been productive."

He says that the news media has been instrumental in getting information out to the public.

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2 years ago

Chief of Police speaks on the search for Isabel Celis

At a press conference, just moments ago, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor told media that law enforcement is investigating more than a hundred leads in the search for missing 6-year-old, Isabel Celis.

Additionally, alerts made by highly trained FBI canine units have given police some new direction, and Villasenor says police are working with the dog handlers to interpret what the alerts mean.

Villasenor also confirmed that a possibly broken or removed screen on the window in Isabel's bedroom is a point of entry they are seriously investigating but he stressed that it is not, "a definitive point of entry."

In the meantime, the Celis family has been asked to leave the home until further notice, and the house is being treated like a crime scene.

Another update is scheduled for 8 A.M.

2 years ago

TPD update: The search for Isabel Celis

The investigation for a missing, 6-year-old girl continues. In the latest update, police say canine units have completed an initial round of search and authorities are following up with the dog handlers.

Stay with News Four Tucson and KVOA.com for the latest.

2 years ago

Former detective discusses missing girl case

TUCSON - On February 18, 2007, the decomposed body of 4-year-old Ariana Payne was found inside a bad, in a Rubbermaid case inside a storage unit. Her 5-year-old brother Tyler would never be found.

Michael Orozco, a former TPD detective, was the lead detective on the case. We sat down with him to get his perspective on the case of 6-year-old Isabel Celis. Police are now treating her disappearance as a possible abduction, a type of case Orozco is quite familiar with. "In abductions especially, you need to move quickly, be as thorough as you can, because time is of the essence," said Orozco.

The big question everyone wants to know the answer to, what happened? Orozco says good detective work, evidence and real facts are the only way we're going to know. "You want to find this little girl, any little girl, as quickly as you can, and move toward a successful conclusion."

With candlelight vigils and an entire community praying, the best advice according to a former detective with nearly three decade's experience, is always remain optimistic. "Children have been found years and years later. But they've been kept by their abductors, and kept hidden. We've seen that over the last couple of years in the media, so there's always hope," said Orozco. "More than anything else law enforcement wants to find this little girl, and they want her to be brought home safely, and put back with her family."

2 years ago

Celis family prays for safety of their missing girl

TUCSON - The Celis family attended Church early Sunday morning to pray for the safety of their little girl Isabel.

News 4 Tucson talked to the priest Miguel Mariano who said the family is trying to stay strong during this difficult time.

"Obviously it's natural for them to feel distraught over the loss--disappearance of their daughter Isabel, but they are holding on to their faith that God may intercede and that God may bring her home safely," said Mariano.

The priest told us the family was in early Sunday for advice.

He said they kneeled down before the statue of the Virgin Mary to pray for their daughter's safe return.

"The advice that I gave them is pray, pray, pray during this time of difficulty," said Mariano.

Throughout the day, the congregation also followed that advice as they continued that circle of prayer.

"I assured them of our support, and if there is anything that we could do to help them that we are here for them and with them," said Mariano.

The congregation said they hope the family knows they're not alone.

"God bless the child and hopefully we will find her, and if we could just let everyone else know," said parishioner Jhenitva Raygova.

The parish also ordered fliers to post around their church and school.

They're handing them out to everyone in the congregation.

There are more than two thousand people who belong to the parish, so the priest said he hopes spreading the word that way as well could help bring Isabel home.

2 years ago

New details on missing 6-year-old

TUCSON - Police Chief Roberto Villasenor held a press conference this afternoon at 2 p.m. to discuss the latest on the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis.

At this time, Villasenor says nothing has been ruled out. That means no one has been ruled out either and there is no suspect information at this time.

What police do know is the search for this missing girl continues to grow. All resources are being used including police, FBI, Border Patrol, canines from the Department of Corrections and canines are also being flown in from the FBI in Virginia to aid in the search.

Something of note, the Chief said that there are no signs of forced entry, but he would also not comment on possible point of entry or exit or the condition of the house.

The Chief did say they have performed a door by door search several times, the parents continue to meet with investigators, and authorities have also interviewed every sex offender within a 3-mile radius.

Villasenor said updates, regardless of any new information, will come every 2 hours. Keep checking www.kvoa.com for the latest updates.

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2 years ago

Searchers scour Tucson for missing 6-year-old girl

TUCSON, (AP) - Police cordoned off a neighborhood block where a 6-year-old Arizona girl went missing from her home during the night, as authorities fanned out Sunday over a wide area looking for clues to the possible kidnapping.

Meanwhile, the parents of first-grader Isabel Mercedes Celis attended a morning Mass as friends and neighbors joined in the search.

"They were very upset," said Leon Mazza, a deacon at St. Joseph Parish, which is a short walk from their home. "We didn't ask for any information. We just let them know if they need help, come see us."

Parish priest Miguel Mariano said the family regularly attends Mass and said he asked the parents if they needed any help from the congregation. "And then they said, 'No, Father, just prayers," Mariano said.

The couple hurried off, saying they were going to meet with police.

The Catholic church and its school are just down the street from the family's home, and Mariano said in his sermon that he hoped whoever has Isabel has a change of heart.

"I feel, in the name of the community, we feel we are violated," he said later. "It's just right in our neighborhood."

The girl's parents last saw their daughter in her bedroom at their Tucson home at 11 p.m. Friday and discovered her missing at about 8 a.m. Saturday, police spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke said. The parents phoned 911 minutes later.

Investigators were looking into various scenarios, including the possibility Isabel wandered out of the home she shares with her parents and two brothers. Hawke said Sunday that authorities were treating the case as "a suspicious disappearance and possible abduction."

Karen Hebert, a registered nurse at Tucson Medical Center, said Sunday that she has worked with the girl's mother for the past six months. Hebert, with help from her dog, planned to help with the search.

"She talks very highly about her kids, how smart they are, how playful they are. She just lights up and smiles when she's talking about them," Hebert said. "With all the hurt I'm feeling, I can't imagine what they're going through."

After a fruitless day of searching Saturday, numerous patrol and search and rescue personnel continued the hunt Sunday morning, Hawke said. She said that at any given time, 75 to 100 officers were taking part, including police, FBI agents and deputy U.S. marshals.

Teams combed a large swath of Tucson on Saturday into the evening using street patrols, canines and a helicopter. At one point late Saturday, communications operator Patrick Olea said the area encompassed "pretty much the entire east side."

Also involved are Department of Corrections bloodhounds, search and rescue experts and a Pima County rapid response team.

The girl's home is situated in a working-class neighborhood, sandwiched between a shopping mall to the east and businesses and the Catholic school and church to the west.

On Sunday morning, the street was still cordoned off by police who were keeping anyone but residents out, and the alley that runs on one side also was blocked off. A home on the street of small, older single-family brick homes was surrounded by yellow police tape, while a group of people outside one home talked with a police officer.

Volunteers were manning an outpost set up near the family home as others, many family and friends, fanned out across the city for a second day. They were posting missing flyers in gas stations, malls and fast food restaurants that included a photo of Isabel holding up a school achievement award.

Friends of the family fanned out to distribute fliers with a photo of Isabel, who is described as just under 4-feet-tall and weighing 44 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Neighbors say they can't understand how something like this could happen to the Celis family.

"They're amazing people. They're very nice very sweet (and) outgoing," neighbor Jerry Pike said.

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2 years ago

Search continues for missing 6-year-old girl Sunday morning

TUCSON - Search efforts continue Sunday morning for missing 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis.

The young girl was last seen around 11 p.m. Friday night at home, located in the 5600 block of East 12th Street, near Broadway Boulevard and Craycroft Road, according to Tucson Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke.

Isabel's parents put her to bed at 11 p.m. Friday night, Hawke said. When her father went to wake her up around 8 a.m. Saturday, Isabel was gone. The family called police around 8:15 a.m.

Police began a massive search Saturday, including officers from Tucson Police, FBI agents,a large contingent of deputy U.S. Marshals, deputies from the Pima County Sheriff's Department, and blood-hounds from the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Police searched the neighborhood all day Saturday, using ground patrols, helicopters, and K-9's. They also served multiple warrants in the area.

Police also searched cars driving into and leaving from the neighborhood throughout the day.

Hawke said investigators were looking into all potential
scenarios, including the possibility that Isabel got up and wandered out of the home she shares with her parents and two brothers.

By Saturday night, police began calling the disappearance a "suspicious disappearance" or "possible abduction," Hawke said.

As it got later in the day Saturday, it became less likely that Isabel wandered off, according to Hawke.

Police have many leads and continue to follow up on them Sunday morning, according to Hawke.

KVOA News 4 Tucson has a crew at the scene and reports that there is significantly less law enforcement activity in the area Sunday morning.

Sgt. Maria Hawke said the search area is being widened and all investigative leads are being explored.

Isabel is described as being just under 4- feet tall and weighs approximately 44 lbs. She was last seen with her hair in two long braids. She is missing one front tooth and one bottom tooth.

Anyone with any information about Isabel's disappearance or whereabouts is urged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

KVOA is working to get contiunuous updates from Tucson Police Department and will continue to provide updates on the investigation on KVOA.com and KVOA News 4 Tucson throughout the day.

2 years ago

Police call missing girl case suspicious

TUCSON - Police are calling the disappearance of a 6-year-old girl a "suspicious disappearance" or "possible abduction," according to Sgt. Maria Hawke with the Tucson Police Department.

It became less likely the girl wandered off as it got later in the day, according to Hawke.

Isabel Mercedes Celis was last seen around 11 p.m. Friday night when her parents put her to bed, according to Hawke.

When Celis' father went to wake her up around 8 a.m. she was not it the home, according to Hawke.

The family called police around 8:15 a.m.

The girl was in a house on the 5600 block of East 12th Street near Broadway Boulevard and Craycroft Road. The parents and 2 older brothers also live there, according to Hawke.

Detectives are investigating if anybody broke into the home.

Police searched the neighborhood all day Saturday and served multiple warrants.

Blood hounds from the Department of Corrections helped.

Several agencies were involved, including US Marshalls, the FBI and the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Police have many leads and plan on working well into Sunday morning, according to Hawke.

2 years ago

Missing girl's family and neighbors speak out

TUCSON- Neighbors and family members were shook up to hear 6 year old Isabel Celis went missing from her neighborhood in the 5700 block of East 12th street.

Isabel's grandfather form her mother's side, Hector Rodriguez, said he's praying for the family to receive good news soon.

It's been an agonizing day for the family as they wait to hear about what happened with their loved one.

Rodriguez was glued to his binoculars trying to see what was going on at the scene.

He lives in Douglas and made the trip to Tucson as soon as his daughter called him with news that little Isabel went missing.

"Why does this have to happen? It's something I just can't believe. I feel like I'm dreaming. I really do hope I'm dreaming because this is such a horrible thing. We feel so helpless," said Rodriguez.

Her uncle came to the neighborhood as soon as he heard the news as well.

"AI wasn't sure if I was dreaming or what happened because you don't think anything like that will ever happen to you," said Justin Mastomarino.

Neighbors said they couldn't understand how something like this could happen to the Celis family.

"They're amazing people. They're very nice very sweet..outgoing...whenever I needed something or my bike being fixed, the dad would help me," said neighbor Jerry Pike.

Ann Clevenger said this is a sad situation and she would never wish it on anybody.
"You never know. One day they could be here and one day they could not be here," she said.

2 years ago

AMBER Alert: When and why they're issued in Arizona

TUCSON - Sgt. Maria Hawke with the Tucson Police department says circumstances surrounding the disappearance of 6-year old Isabel Mercedes Celis do not meet the criteria for issuing an AMBER alert.

Tucson Police say they do not have a defined suspect, suspect vehicle, or license plate description, so the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert have not been met.

Here's the criteria that must be met for any AMBER Alert to be issued:

1. An abduction of a child under 19 has occurred.

2. The abduction poses a threat of immediate danger, or serious bodily injury or death to the child.

3. Law enforcement has determined that the child is not a runaway. And has not been abducted as a result of a child custody dispute, unless the dispute poses a credible threat of danger to the child.

4. There is enough descriptive information about the child, the abductor and the circumstances surrounding the abduction that will help locate the child and apprehend the suspect.

5. There is information available to disseminate to the general public, which could assist in the safe recovery of the child and/or the apprehension of a suspect.

The Arizona AMBER Alert is not activated for every missing/abducted child.

If the incident does not meet the criteria of this plan for activation, nothing precludes the investigating agency from contacting the media for assistance in disseminating the information surrounding the incident. However, the incident should not be referred to as an AMBER Alert since it does not meet the activation criteria.

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2 years ago

Tucson Police investigate report of missing child

TUCSON - The Tucson Police Department is investigating a report of a missing 6-year-old, Saturday morning, Tucson Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke said.

Isabel Mercedes Celis is missing from her home, located in the 5700 block of East 12th Street, near Broadway and Craycroft, Hawke said.

She was last seen when her parents put her to bed at 11 p.m. Friday night, Hawke said. She was nowhere to be found Saturday morning.

At this time, 12th Street is closed in the area, Hawke said.

KVOA News 4 Tucson has a crew at the scene.

Stay tuned to KVOA News 4 and KVOA.com for updates.

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