Six-year-old Isabel Celis from Tucson, Arizona, was first reported missing in 2012. Isabel was fast asleep in her family home when she was mysteriously snatched from her bed. Five years after her disappearance, her remains were finally found in a remote area in Pima County, Arizona. The grisly discovery has raised more questions than answers. What exactly happened to Isabel Celis?
The Death and Disappearance of Isabel Celis: A Case Unsolved
A child’s disappearance is enough to raise alarm in a suburban neighborhood. So the news of Isabel Celis’s kidnapping in 2012 quickly garnered worldwide attention, likely because it bore an unsettling resemblance to the 2007 disappearance of Maddie McCann, another young girl who was abducted from a hotel room in Portugal.
Time of disappearance
On the early hours of April 21, 2012, Rebecca and Sergio Celis slept soundly in a separate bedroom after putting down their only daughter Isabel to sleep at eleven the night before. Little did they know, it was the last time they were ever going to see her alive.
At around 8:00 a.m., Isabel’s family members frantically called 911 after discovering she was not in her bed or anywhere in the house. Rebecca, who had left home for work that same morning, rushed back to beg the police to find her little girl.
“I went to work this morning at 7:00 a.m., and I did not come and check on her, I should have come and checked on her,” the devastated mom cried on the phone.
Initially, the only lead the police had was the Celises’ next door neighbor. According to the woman, she heard footsteps and male voices coming from the family home at 6:30 in the morning. Unfortunately, she did not report on seeing Isabel, and the young girl would remain missing for the next five years.
Scroll down for the video
Suspects, cold leads, and more heartbreak
Over the years that followed, the Arizona police tracked over 2,200 leads, all of which led nowhere. Aiding the police with their search was the FBI and U.S. Marshals. But despite their combined efforts, they never got close to naming confirmed suspects.
At one point, Isabel’s own father was a person of interest. But all charges against him were dropped due to lack of evidence. With no reliable evidence to direct them to the actual perpetrators, the case continued to loom among the Arizona police.
It wasn’t until March 2017 when new development on Isabel’s case found itself in front page news. Chris Magnus, police chief of Tucson, made the announcement that the young girl’s remains were found and confirmed by DNA testing. Magnus added that no arrests have been made and offered no other details regarding the case.
The Celis family has released the following statement in wake of the incident:
“We want to thank the community for the support they have continued to show for Isa over the years and for refusing to give up hope. Now is our time to mourn. We ask for our privacy during this time so that we can do that.”
Magnus stated that the investigation is still open, and anyone with reliable information should contact 911 or 88-CRIME immediately.