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. jana

    A county fair in town brings a few undesirables...we don't know it the family visited the fair or not. Too many possibilities in this day and age. I'm afraid this beautiful child was dead before her parents were even awake. Stark reality...that I wish were different. My hopes are for the arrest and death sentence to whoever. And for the family...may you find peace after such a horrible loss.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • superjen

      Wow, you must know something that the police don't. Are you a psychic?

      April 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mema

      I do find it a bit odd that the perp knew which room was the childs. Perhaps it was something on window sill or the curtain design. It may help to have good blinds and not have anything on the window of a childs room that could clue perps. No toys, stickers or decor. Also 100 leads seems like an awful lot and I do hope they are credible leads because the last thing this search needs it wasted time on goose hunts. Some people just want to inject themselves into high profiled cases and that wastes critical time. Oh I do hope she is found safe! My heartfelt prayers for her and her family.

      April 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • mibo

      yes y r u speaking like u know some more then the cops??? I will think+ until i know different....hoping for a good ending,,

      April 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JC

    Nancy Grace says stop searching and just arrest the tot mom.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |

      Nancy Grace is a joke and needs to be arrested herself.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Hammond

      Nancy Grace has foot in mouth disease.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in WNY

      CNN should have muzzled Nancy Disgrace years ago.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Nancy Grace should be arrested and gagged for life. It's not free speech that comes out of her mouth. It's drunken rants, lies, rage and cruelty.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Even the "Law And Order" franchise makes fun of her!

      April 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mytrixrnot4kids

    I've heard other people quote about the rarity of stranger abductions but the fact is, that statistic is no consolation to the parents of an abducted child and, children who are abducted by stranger rarely have a positive outcome. It's sad but true. I have 3 daughters and I allow them as much freedom as I a comfortable with. They tend to do things with groups of friends because a lone child is an easy target. They are also learning Krav Maga, which is based on Israeli street fighting techniques. I feel like it is the best thing to keep my children safe. At the same time, I know that they do have to be allowed to have some freedom and independence. It's all about a balance between independence and safety.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • DebS

      Well said!

      April 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. saywhat

    We can all pray for the missing girl & her family. Disappeared from her bed room Are the kids safe nowhere?
    These heart rending cases are becoming worrisome.

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

      Yes, scary. I always lock all doors, windows, have an alarm system, a dog, monitors, even though I live in a very quiet neighborhood. I hope the girl is found soon and my prayers for the girl and the family.

      April 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nomercy101

    sad sad sad!! 😦 😦 😦 no matter what happens to the perp justice will never be served.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Teresa

    She was not out in public. It is a shame when a child is not safe in her own home in her own bed. I hope they find this little girl. My prayers go out to her family.

    April 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon hra

      It's a shame a person can't go out in public and be safe.

      April 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. woogiesmom

    Too sad. I am praying this little gets home safe.

    April 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Leigh2

    So sad to hear of yet another child abduction. What are parents going to have to do? Put bars on the children's bedroom windows to keep evil predators out from gaining access to them? I pray the authorities and the searchers find this sweet, little girl alive somewhere. However, the minute she was taken, she became harmed. :=(

    April 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Name*andy

    I pray thay find that poor baby alive

    April 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    They should, if they haven't already, start checking the border crossing cameras. I just have a gut feeling this child will be found alive. God is watching over her.

    April 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cyn507

    get a grip. i imagine it's hot there and the window was open for some air. a little girl should be safe in her own home. unfortunately, she's not so know we need to round up all the freaks & pervs, I find out who knows what. You're bugged out about her parents letting a breeze blow in. How about all the dummy's that have their whole "cartoon family" plastered on the window of their mini van, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, even the animals. let all the sick-o's know how many kids & which kinds are in your family why don't you. Oh, while you're at it, list their hockey#, cheerleading sqad, the fact that they play softball and what school they go to. Those are all good things for perverts to help get your kids away from you and into a strangers car. That's where the wake up call's need to take place. The overly proud parents letting us know every detail of little jonny's life.

    April 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • raven

      @cyn 507: I've often thought that very same thing. With all these abductions taking place, why on earth do parents advertise every little detail about their kids?? Its nice that they are proud, but plastering all that info on bumper stickers, myspace, facebook, etc.isn't doing them any favors.

      April 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      That's right, blame the victim. The criminals are entirely blameless....it's the parents' fault for not locking up their kids in a dungeon never to leave.

      April 24, 2012 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
    • cinna2011

      Erik, exactly. Blame the victim. Child abductions and pedophiles and demented individuals existed well before car window stickers, facebook or any other way parents express pride in their children. Whether these things exist or not the sick and perverted are unfortunately factors.

      April 25, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • lizza

      don't leave out face book

      April 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WildWest

    May the individual who took the child suffer an unfathomable death.

    April 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope for the best

      I'm not one to wish ill will on anyone, but in this case, I'm with you.

      April 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sheri

    I live not far from this neighborhood and it's a middle-class part of Tucson – lots of businesses to the north and south, and full, quiet neighborhoods. It was very hot this weekend, so her parents naturally had the windows open at night. Even if Isabel's windows didn't have stickers or whatnot on them, it's not difficult to figure out what windows belong to small rooms. Maybe the abductor looked into a few homes that night. Mr. Villasenor gave a good press conference yesterday afternoon and did not seem to have any particular suspect in mind. Lay off the parents unless the police determine them to be a factor. I really hope Isabel is okay and whoever is responsible is caught before they can do anything else.

    April 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GaPeach

    This is so sad. I hope and pray they find her safe. And please stop pointing fingers at the parents for leaving a window open! A child is supposed to be safe in her own home and bed! they did nothing wrong!! Pray for Isabel!

    April 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hope for the best

    I can't imagine a greater nightmare in a parent's earthly life than to have a child abducted. As trite as this sounds,
    I've got my fingers crossed and hope she's found-alive and well.

    April 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • DebS

      I agree. It's every parent's nightmare. As a parent, I cannot imagine what they are going through. I'm glad to hear that there are so many people calling in tips to try and help the family end this nightmare.

      Godspeed to finding this girl alive and well.

      April 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
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