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Isabel Mercedes Celis

Search continues for missing 6-year-old girl

Police continue to canvass neighborhood

The search continues for 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis, who was discovered missing from her Tucson home Saturday morning. About 150 to 200 people have searched for Celis throughout the course of the weekend.

The 6-year old girl went to bed at 11 p.m. Friday. When her father went to her bedroom at 8 a.m. Saturday, she was gone.

The family searched the house before calling 911, the initial responding officers cordoned off the area before calling additional sources.

The search now spans a 2.5-mile radius around the Celis home at the 5600 block of E. 12th St. FBI agents, members of the U.S. Marshals office, and bloodhounds from the Arizona Department of Corrections have been involved in the search, according to a Tucson Police Department press release.

On Sunday evening, about 200 family members, friends and supporters gathered in Midtown for a vigil.

The middle class neighborhood is primarily residential and bordered by a shopping mall and a Catholic church.

“I wouldn’t call this a high crime area at all,” Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.

Villaseñor said there were 140 people actively searching as of a Sunday afternoon news conference.

The investigative team has interviewed sex offenders who live in a 3-mile radius. This is standard protocol, Villaseñor said.

Investigators also have made contact with local merchants hoping to find surveillance tapes that “might have captured something of interest.”

“We’re not ruling anything out of the investigation at this point,” said Villaseñor.

A diverse terrain of residential housing, commercial buildings and open desert make the search a complex one.

“There could be innumerable places where they could be hidden or evidence could be found,” Villaseñor said.

Personnel also have been dispatched to the landfill to search through garbage removed from the neighborhood before the neighborhood was locked down. Villaseñor estimates the search will be concluded in a couple days.

Villaseñor would not reveal specific details about the condition of the Celis’s room but he said they are investigating a location that could be a possible point of entry.

Though they have not spoken to media, the Celis parents are cooperating with investigators, Villaseñor said. The Tucson Police Department is also working with state and federal authorities.

“This case does not fit the criteria for Amber Alert,” Villaseñor said.

An Amber Alert requires a specific description of the possible subject, vehicle or direction of travel, Villaseñor said.

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Celis weights 44 pounds and is 3 feet 8 inches tall. She has long brown hair, hazel eyes and is missing two front teeth, one on the bottom and one on top. The Tucson Police Department does not have any information about what she was last wearing.

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Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.com

About 200 people attended a vigil in Midtown Tucson on Sunday night for the Isabel Mercedes Celis, who has been missing since Saturday morning.

A statement from the family

“We appreciate everyone’s interest in finding our daughter, Isabel, and thank all the volunteers who have come out to search for her. We are cooperating fully with authorities, and are focused only on her safe return. We appreciate all your energy and efforts and continue to need the community’s help. Please call TPD if you have any information. We love Isabel and will never give up finding her. Thank you for all your support.”