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TPD releases video of potential witnesses in Celis case

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Isabel Celis

TPD releases video of potential witnesses in Celis case

Police chief makes plea for more information as fewer tips come in

  • Celis family
  • Celis family
  • TPD

The Tucson Police Department has released surveillance video of a group of people who may be potential witnesses to the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabel Celis.

The video shows what appears to be three women and two men walking through a parking lot. Police believe the group may have walked east along the north side of Saint Joseph's Catholic Church, 215 S. Craycroft Rd., between 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

They may have been walking in the direction of East Cooper Street. and may have been leaving the Cactus Moon club or Risky Business Restaurant and Bar. TPD is urging anyone from the group to call 911 as soon as possible.

Police said Friday they are receiving fewer tips and are renewing a plea for information that could lead them to Isabel, who was last seen at 11 p.m. on April 20 when she went to bed at her family's home in the 5600 block of E. 12th St.

Anyone who may have photographs and video taken during a little league game at Freedom Park on April 20 are asked to call 911. The family attended a game in which Isabel's brother played, TPD said.

In addition, TPD is asking for information from anyone who may have noticed someone they know who has been behaving differently, was missing during the period Isabel disappeared, or has deviated from a regular schedule or normal activities in the last week.

"It may indicate some type of involvement," he said. "We want to look into all possibilities."

Some of the things to look out for, according to TPD:

  • The person may have missed scheduled appointments, work, or other normal activities during the day on Saturday.
  • The person may have disappeared for a period of hours or even days, or may have left the area entirely since last weekend.
  • The person may have exhibited some noticeable behavioral changes. For example:
  • The person may have been more nervous, irritable or secretive than normal.
  • The person may display an unusual interest in the media coverage of Isabel’s disappearance or conversely may not want to discuss the investigation.
  • The person may have unexpectedly cleaned, painted, or altered his vehicle.

Villaseñor also said Friday evening that the department is working with the Sonora state attorney general's office to get information into Mexico. Villaseñor said he was assured the information is being distributed to authorities and law enforcement personnel in Sonora.

TPD has about 50 detectives and investigators and an additional 40 support personnel working on the case, Villaseñor said.

Earlier on Friday, police were at St. Joseph's Hospital after receiving a tip that Isabel had been seen behind the hospital, but Villaseñor said the tip turned out to be "groundless."

Isabel was last seen when she went to bed April 20 at 11 p.m. Sergio Celis discovered his daughter missing from her bedroom the following morning. After searching the home, the police were contacted around 8 a.m.

Isabel weighs 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 has not released any information about what she was last wearing.

With the help of an anonymous donor, the reward for information that leads to Isabel has increased to $30,000, Villaseñor said Friday.

Villaseñor announced Friday that TPD now will be using a tool that allows people to text anonymous tips or leave them online.

TipSoft is available as an app for iPhone and Android users, or people can text "CRIMES" (274637) beginning with the keyword "TucsonPD" from any mobile phone. For tips in the Celis case, the keyword is "TucsonPD 5265".

For more information on TipSoft or to leave a tip online, visit TPD's website.

Anyone with information also can call 88-CRIME, the Center for Missing & Exploited Children's tip line at (800) THE-LOST, or online through its CyberTipline.


A statement from the family

The family of Isabel Celis released the following statement Monday:

“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.”

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