Now Reading
TPD: Video of witnesses in Celis case was from wrong day

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Isabel Celis

TPD: Video of witnesses in Celis case was from wrong day

Police mistakenly release video from day after girl was reported missing

  • Celis family
  • Find Isabel Celis
  • TPD
  • Celis family
  • Find Isabel Celis

Tucson Police said the surveillance video released Friday that shows five potential witnesses walking toward the neighborhood of the Celis family home was from the wrong day as the case for missing 6-year-old Isabel Celis moved into its 10th day.

The footage captured on the video, which shows a group of two men and three women walking through a parking lot, was actually from April 22, one day after Isabel was reported missing. The error was blamed on the video lacking a time stamp, said TPD spokesman Lt. Fabian Pacheco on Monday.

Police had released the video believing it was from April 21 between 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m., Pacheco said.

Tucson Police took statements from three of the people seen on the video over the weekend, Pacheco said.

Isabel was last seen when she went to bed April 20 at 11 p.m., at the family's home in the 5600 block of E. 12th St. Sergio Celis discovered his daughter missing from her bedroom the following morning. After searching the home, the police were contacted around 8 a.m.

Although drawing no links to Isabel's case, Pacheco also said the department is working with Pima County Sheriff's deputies on a report of three children who were allegedly sexually assaulted early Monday morning in a bedroom at a home in the 11100 block of E. Mountain Gate.

The three girls, ages 6, 8 and 10, were reportedly assaulted by a man, described as white and in his 20s, who entered the bedroom at their grandparents' home around 2 a.m. The man was last seen wearing dark shorts, a green sleeveless shirt and dark colored glasses, said PCSD spokeswoman Deputy Dawn Barkman.

Investigators in Isabel's case continue to pore over leads and are reviewing witness statements from early in the investigation to see if any information stands out 10 days after Isabel went missing, Pacheco said.

"We'd love to have Isabel back with her parents and have the case resolved," Pacheco said Sunday about the pace of the investigation. "This is painstaking work and it takes time."

Investigators are receiving fewer tips since the first days of the investigation, but averaged about eight to 10 tips per hour Sunday. Police have received more than 350 leads in the case, Pacheco said.

TPD has about 50 detectives and investigators and an additional 40 support personnel working on the case. While they have rotated shifts, they worked through the weekend following up on tips, Pacheco said.

There also are FBI and U.S. Marshals Service personnel working on the case, Pacheco said.

Manuel Barrios, director general for the Sonora State Investigative Police, has distributed information about the case and photographs of Isabel across Sonora. where officers are being told to look at businesses, industrial areas and bus stations. Sonoran authorities have followed up on two tips, Pacheco said.

Pacheco said the department remains in "constant contact" with the Celis family, who has yet to return to the 12th Street home, despite being given the OK last week following searches by TPD and FBI investigators.

Isabel's parents, Sergio and Becky Celis, made a statement to members of the media last week when they pleaded for Isabel's return.

"Please, please, to the person or persons who have Isabel: Tell us your demands. Tell us what you want," Sergio Celis said Wednesday.

Pacheco said the family has received numerous requests for an interview from media outlets and is considering sitting down for an interview, though police do not know with whom.

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

There now is a $50,000 reward for information that leads investigators to Isabel.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911, 88-CRIME or leave a tip through TPD's new tool that allows people to text anonymous tips or leave them online. Tips also can be made through the Center for Missing & Exploited Children's tip line at (800) THE-LOST, or online through its CyberTipline.

TPD's 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.

— 30 —

Top headlines

Best in Internet Exploder