April 23rd, 2012
10:16 AM ET

Police track 100-plus leads in case of missing Arizona girl, 6

[Updated 11:25 a.m.] The house from which a 6-year-old Tucson, Arizona, girl went missing Saturday morning was being treated as a crime scene Monday as police said they were checking and re-checking more than 100 leads in the case.

Isabel Mercedes Celis was last seen by family members when she went to bed at 11 p.m. Friday. She was discovered missing when her father went to wake her at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Tucson chief of police Roberto Villasenor said Monday morning that investigators were looking over again many of the leads that have come in.

"You want new eyes looking things over several times," he told reporters in Tucson.

The chief said earlier police were investigating a broken screen in the child’s bedroom as a possible point of entry into the house.

“We have a window that was opened and a screen removed. We’re labeling it as suspicious circumstances and a possible abduction,”  he said Monday morning on CNN.

He said police were hoping to find the girl but acknowledged that the longer she is missing, the more worried authorities become.

"This has been a race against the clock from minute one," he said. "Every hour that goes by is troublesome for us."

Police had not identified any suspects in her disappearance, and the family was cooperating in the investigation, he said.

“We’re still trying to determine where Isabel is. That’s the primary concern and focus, to try and find her and bring her home safely,” he said.

Villasenor said police had done a door-to-door search within a 2.5-mile radius of the girl’s home.

“We’ve searched it at least three times now because of the size of Isabel and the fact that the area has open spaces as well as businesses and residences. It’s very elaborate to search all that area,” he said.

Police had also contacted all registered sex offenders within a three-mile radius, Villasenor said.

But he said there is no single focus to the investigation.

“We want to keep our mind open because we don’t want to miss any leads that may come in or any clues that may be there and that we don’t see them because we’re focused so blindly on something else,” the chief said.

FBI search dogs trained to help in missing persons cases are helping in the search, the chief said Monday morning.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Jonah

    That's horrible. I hope it ends well

    April 23, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Freeman

      Hope springs eternal. – but have you ever seen such a news story end well?

      April 23, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • justathought

      This sort of thing is always horrible. And as someone has pointed out the parents are the usual suspects. I hope not, because that makes it even more horrible. For a none member of the family to abduct a sleeping child from her bedroom is really rare.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. LoveLoveCrazyLove

    I hope they find her. My gut says it's someone the family has recently be-friended.

    April 23, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. john

    Parents are the usual suspects.

    April 23, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ceej

    I haven't heard about this one. What does it mean by “We’ve searched it at least three times now because of the size of Isabel..." Is she particularly small? Just wondering. I've never heard that mentioned in any other cases, including babies and toddlers who have been abducted.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Perhaps an unfortunate turn of phrase...

      I hope they find this child.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Almond_Mom

      You know...I was wondering the same thing. They made a couple of odd statements like that, I thought.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      good eye...that is weird phrasing isnt it? Seems like it can both ways: she might be a smaller 6 yr. old or her size is NOT that of a baby and therefore could be obvious? I just hope she is found safe and alive.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      The search radius is simple..."how far would a child of a certain age, weight, outdoor knowledge/activity travel on her own"? In this case, since this little girl is 6 years-old and small, they immediately and continue to search a certain space.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      It is a neighborhood buddy

      April 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shingdao

      I believe they had to search and research the area because it is a mixed use area with both residences and businesses and also alot of open area....a small child could conceivably be hiding or be hidden anywhere nearby and I guess they just wanted to be thorough.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. midwest

    Not that this is related to her disappearance – but why was a 6 year-old up until 11:00?

    April 23, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Perhaps they had just gotten home from somewhere.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Becky C.

      It did say it was a Friday night so the family was probably up a little later than usual. I wonder if they had been out somewhere with this child and someone followed them home. But, it seems like it would have to be someone who knew which bedroom was hers and which window to go to. I sure hope they find this child safe.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • LaLa

      Why not ? It was Friday night. If she didn't have anything going on the next AM, a special night watching movies or playing games or going to the fair would've been worth staying up for.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • conrad

      I agree Becky, it must be someone they know ... or someone who knew where her room was.

      I think most 6 year olds are too afraid of the dark to go out a window alone at night.

      I hope she is ok.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TR

    They may have been out late. There was the county fair that a lot of people went to that night. Just sick over this story. Checked windows and alarm 2 different times last night and still couldn't sleep very well.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. teresa

    besides the family, who was the last person to remember seeing her alive? just to get the timeline straight. Missing kids is so crazy and so frequent anymore. It is nauseating.

    I remember when my kids were that young.... i was so terrified for their safety, i put lattice over the exterior window frame and i taught my kids how to quickly break thru it in the even of a fire. If someone outside tried to break in, they would have had a really difficult time. I know I slept well at night.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      In no way am I saying this applies to you, but...parents are obsessed with the idea of 'stranger danger' that they prevent their children from living a life without undue fear. Stranger abductions are extremely rare, children are often the victims of family and friends, the the wild-eyed stranger. Yes, we have to be careful, but we also need to let our children be children, without living in fear of the boogey man. I say this for a lot of reasons, mostly the facts about stranger abductions and how rare they are. also because of the inconsistencies if parents concerns. Our home was across the street from a school, many parents have started picking up their kids, even the older ones,out of fear. Yet, I watched these same parents drive off without their child(ren) in restraints, bouncing around in the front seat or in the back of pickups. They leave guns around for their kids to find. Allow angry, impatient, unprepared boyfriends/creepy relatives to stay with the kids, alone.We've all read those stories... They are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times more likely to harm their child by ignoring simple, common sense precautions.

      April 23, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • retphxfire

      that should read...not wild-eyed strangers!!!

      April 23, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. retphxfire

    Stranger kidnappings are rare, I hope for the child's sake and for the community that the parents were not involved, but their cooperation is a sign they are just as much victims as this little girl. My thoughts are with the family and all who loved/knew her.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      You are spot on!

      April 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phil Spectre

    Human trafficking for satanic means is a major scourge and culprit. And not really talked about.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Never happens. People who claim it does are called "suspects."

      April 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Phil Spectre

    The drug cartel cults in Mexico sacrifice young children quite a bit. It should be looked in to.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I agree that it hould be looked into, but they are doing it to their own citizen's children, not taking the chance to break in Ststeside homes to do it.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      S/B Stateside.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      "The drug cartel cults in Mexico sacrifice young children quite a bit. It should be looked in to."

      That's completely unlikely, and makes me wonder why you keep trying to redirect the search.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Misha

      where did you read that

      April 25, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. carby

    What a coincidence (?) Perp KNEW it was her bedroom? What are the chances he might have climbed in the parents bedroom? Or perhaps other siblings (if any)? PERP KNEW THIS WAS HER BEDROOM......KNOWN TO FAMILY.....

    April 23, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gloria

    I pray for this little girl, but the longer the time extends, the worse it is.

    It is so strange how often this is happening.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. bushWhacker

    Freeman wrote:
    "Hope springs eternal. – but have you ever seen such a news story end well?"

    Yes I did. Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home during the night by some religious nut
    and was found alive and well several months later.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Superman

    Nobody would stand a chance trying to get to my girls,,,,,they would wipeout any agressors trying bs like this,,,i hope they find her alive and smoke the abductor/s

    April 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. anonymous

    Most likely not too far away from the home. Someone who lives in the area, maybe only a few blocks over and/or on the next street. Another lone male most likely

    April 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
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