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Entries in Isabel Mercedes Celis (4)

Wednesday
Apr252012

Parents of Isabel Celis, Arizona 6-Year-Old, Plead for Return

ABC (TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Pleading for the safe return of their 6-year-old daughter Wednesday, the parents of missing Tucson girl Isabel Celis spoke publicly for the first time.

"Just please, please, to the person or persons who have Isabel, tell us what you want. We will do anything for her. We're looking for you, Isa," Sergio Celis, the girl's father, said tearfully Wednesday.

Standing with family members clad in matching "Bring Isa Home" T-shirts, Celis and his wife, Becky, spoke directly to their daughter's captor, saying in both English and Spanish that they would do anything for her return. The parents have offered $6,000 for information about her disappearance.

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Celis was reported missing by her father around 8 a.m. Saturday after her mother left for work and her father went to wake her up. The child was not in her room, and a bedroom window was opened with the screen removed, police said.

The little girl was last seen around 11 p.m. Friday, when she was put to bed, he said.

While the police have not ruled out Celis's parents as suspects, they have said the family has cooperated fully with police during the investigation.

"We have tremendous gratitude to the millions of people around the world who have prayed for Isabel," Becky Celis said. "Please continue to pray for her return. We don't want the focus to be taken off Isabel by talking in front of the cameras."

Police have continued to look for Celis this week by searching homes in the neighborhood, digging through a nearby landfill, and searching waterways and drainage systems in Tucson Wednesday. Investigators have also obtained surveillance video footage, including that from a camera pointed at the Celis house from only 75 yards away, that might yield clues from Friday night or early Saturday morning, police have said.

FBI search dogs, including a scent dog and a cadaver dog, hit on something in the house that police noted was "important" to the investigation on Sunday. Police then executed search warrants on the Celis home and other homes in the neighborhood, though they would not say which ones.

Police noted that there are 15 registered sex offenders in the neighborhood, all of whom have been interviewed by police.

Tuesday night, a behavioral profile team from the FBI searched the Celis family's home and interviewed family members, but police are still asking for leads from the community.

ABC News obtained a police questionnaire detectives used to interview neighbors, which asks whether they have surveillance cameras, heard dogs barking the night of the girl's disappearance, and know any of Celis's normal habits and routines.

Police have scaled back the search operations near the family's home, but said they will focus in on specific areas beginning Wednesday to try to solve the case.

"We love you and we miss you so much, and we will never give up, never give up looking for you," the girl's father said Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Missing Tucson Girl's Family Will 'Never Give Up Finding Her

ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Relatives of Isabel Mercedes Celis, a 6-year-old girl who went missing from her Tucson, Ariz., bedroom over the weekend, say they will "never give up" in their efforts to track her down.

"We appreciate everyone's interest in finding our daughter, Isabel, and thank all the volunteers who have come out to search for her," the family said in a statement read by the Tucson Police Department.

"We are cooperating fully with authorities and are focused only on her safe return," the statement said.  "We appreciate all your energy and efforts and continue to need the community's help.  Please call the TPD if you have any information.  We love Isabel and will never give up finding her.  Thank you for all your support."

Tucson police searched the homes of a number of residences on Monday close to where Celis disappeared, including one home on the same street as the girl's house.

The search entered day three on Monday with investigators combing a nearby landfill, canvassing the neighborhood interviewing residents, and examining evidence that FBI search dogs "hit" in the Celis family home.

Celis was reported missing by her father around 8 a.m. Saturday after Celis' mother left for work and her father went to wake her up.  The child was not in her room, and a bedroom window was opened with the screen removed, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said.

The little girl was last seen around 11 p.m. Friday, when she was put to bed, he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Search for Missing Tucson Girl Isabel Celis Checks Nearby Homes

ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Tucson police searched a number of residences Monday close to where 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis has disappeared, including one home on the same street as the girl's house.

The search for the missing girl entered day three Monday with investigators combing a nearby landfill, canvassing the neighborhood, interviewing residents, and examining evidence that FBI search dogs "hit" in the Celis family home.

Celis was reported missing by her father around 8 a.m. Saturday after Celis' mother had left for work and her father went to wake her up. The child was not in her room, and a bedroom window was opened with the screen removed, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said.

The little girl was last seen around 11 p.m. Friday, when she was put to bed, he said.

Villasenor would not say which residences were searched Monday, after police obtained warrants for the case, but did acknowledge that more than 15 registered sex offenders live within a three-mile radius of the family's home, including at least one who lives in the immediate vicinity.

Detectives have interviewed all of the offenders, he said.

The search for Celis intensified after two FBI search dogs hit upon something in the Celis family home overnight. Villasenor noted that there was a cadaver dog and a scent dog used in the search.

"We have information we obtained from the dogs that has necessitated more follow-up investigation," Villasenor said Monday.

Police evacuated the Celis family from their home Monday following the dog search, Villasenor said. They are treating the house as a crime scene.

Police have not ruled out the parents of the missing child as suspects.

Investigators also continued to search a nearby landfill Monday where garbage was taken after being picked up at the Celis' home on Saturday, Villasenor said. Having police turn to a landfill for evidence of the girl was a grim turn in the investigation.

Celis' uncle, Justin Mastromarino, told ABC News that the girl's mother is devastated over the disappearance of her "sweet little girl."

"They're very upset right now, mother is beside herself. We're just trying to let police do their thing and get as much info as possible," said Mastromarino.

Mastromarino said her family is a loving one.

More than 250 people helped search the area around the Celis' Tucson neighborhood this weekend, including canvassing neighbors to ask about any possible leads.

Celis' family told ABC News on Sunday that they have no doubt she was kidnapped by a stranger.

"You don't think anything like that would actually really happen to you. And all of sudden, you wake up one morning and you're in that scenario. Everything goes through your mind, you're angry, you're upset, you're frustrated, you're confused," Mastromarino said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr222012

Isabel Celis: 6-Year-Old Girl Vanishes From Tucson, Arizona Home

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(TUSCON, Ariz.) -- Isabel Mercedes Celis’ disappearance from her Tucson Ariz. home this weekend is being described as an unusual case, with police saying there’s no evidence she was taken from the residence or that she left on her own.

Celis’ parents last saw their 6-year-old daughter Friday night around 11 p.m. in her bedroom.

When Celis’ father went to wake her up on Saturday morning, she was gone.

“She was checked on at about 8 ‘o clock so they can start their day. And she was not in her room at that point,” said Sgt. Maria Hawke of the Tucson Police Department.

Police are exploring all possibilities.

“We don’t have an actual piece of evidence that points us in one direction or another so for example we don’t have a piece of evidence that says she was definitively taken from the residence. We don’t have any specific piece of evidence that tells us she left the residence on her own,” said Hawke.

Isabel’s family has no doubt she was kidnapped by a stranger.

“You don’t think anything like that would actually really happen to you. And all of sudden, you wake up one morning and you’re in that scenario. Everything goes through your mind, you’re angry, you’re upset, you’re frustrated, you’re confused,” said Isabel’s uncle and family spokesperson Justin Mastromarino.

Mastromarino said Isabel’s bedroom window was open. He also said her family is a loving one.

“They’re very upset right now, mother is beside herself we’re just trying to let police do their thing and get as much info as possible,” said Mastromarino.

Mastromarino described his niece as “just a sweet little girl.”

“All the ambition in the world. She could do whatever she wanted. Didn’t really like strangers or anything like that so very close knitted and just very wise,” said Mastromarino.

Scores of police, FBI agents and federal marshals are engaged in a massive manhunt, which include aerial grid searches and checkpoints on the ground. They have virtually locked down the neighborhood, asking anyone if they’ve seen Isabel. Police have kept everyone away from the home as they look for any signs of damage or forced entry.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio