East TN News
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Race Against The Clock To Find Isabel Celis

By John M Disque

Edited By James Howell



Every missing child case is a sad and powerful race against the clock, with the first few hours being the most crucial, but this one is really hitting home with people across the nation.


Isabel, known as “Isa,” is a beautiful 6 year old, first grader who is adored by all who know her.


On Friday night (4/20/12) she went to bed around 11pm. Early Saturday morning Isabel’s mother, (Rebecca) who is a nurse, got up and went to work. At 8am Isabel’s father (Sergio) went to her room to wake her up and she wasn’t there. After a quick search of the house, Sergio called Rebecca at work and then contacted authorities.

Since Saturday morning there’s been a massive search involving one hundred and fifty law enforcement, FBI agents, U.S Marshalls, trained dogs, border patrol agents and missing persons specialists.


It’s now Tuesday morning and nothing substantial has been reported.


The police investigated 10 leads that haven’t panned out. The neighborhood has been secured and some of the homes in the neighborhood have been checked.


Police have looked through all business surveillance footage in the area and found nothing pertaining to this case.


The search at the local landfill is normal protocol in cases like this but it’s also interesting to note that the neighborhood had garbage pickup early that Saturday morning. The area of the landfill where the trash was taken has been roped off and authorities should be finished sifting through it sometime today (Tuesday 4/24/12).


There’s 17 registered sex offenders living within three miles of the home. All have been interviewed and none have been ruled out as potential suspects.


Police have also gone over Isabel’s house twice. Early Monday the authorities brought trained search dogs into the house and have picked up possible leads along with a possible entry point but they will not comment on the issue at this time. The house is a 1-story residence. The window in Isabel’s bedroom was open and the screen had been removed. This was the obvious exit-point but it leaves an array of open questions. Six-year-old girls don’t just crawl out of the window with strangers without kicking a screaming. You would think it was someone whom Isabel knew and trusted or she was gagged.

Isabel’s family was not allowed to be in the house while it was being investigated (Saturday and Sunday) but are back home now.


Tucson police Chief, Roberto Villaseñor, has promised to leave no stone unturned but the sad fact is: the clock is ticking.


Often a case like this involves a close family member. Other times it involves someone that the child came in contact with soon before they disappeared. Police are interviewing everyone the child had contact with before she went missing.


Naturally the family has been in constant contact with the authorities but they have not been formally questioned or interviewed.


The case has officially been labeled “suspicious, possible abduction.”


No one, including the family, has been ruled out as a potential suspect.


Family, friends and some community volunteers have vowed to never give up the search.


The parents have declined to speak with the media but it is noted that they’re getting through this time with the help of their church and their close friends. The massive around the clock community effort to find Isabel is keeping them hopeful.

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Published in East TN News April 24, 2012

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