The remains of 6-year-old Isabel Celis, the Arizona girl who vanished from her home in 2012, have been found, according to Tucson police.
Police Chief Chris Magnus announced Friday that Isabel’s remains were discovered in a rural location in Pima County and were tested at Bode Cellmark Forensics in Virginia where DNA evidence confirmed they belonged to the young girl, according to AZ Central. Magnus noted of the March find, “We see this as absolutely a tragedy… We were all hoping to find her alive.”
ABC News reports that Magnus said, “It ends the hope of bringing Isabel home safely to her family,” and indicated her parents were told of the find.
Magnus added that finding Isabel does not put an end to the case and that authorities need the public’s help to solve it.
According to a Huffington Post report that examines the timeline surrounding Isabel’s disappearance, her parents put her to bed on Friday, April 20, 2012, at around 11 p.m. The next day, her mother, Becky Celis, headed to her place of employment where she worked as a nurse at around 7:30 a.m. About 30 minutes later, the girl’s father, Sergio Celis, went to wake up Isabel and found she was not in her bedroom. Just minutes later, Sergio called police to report his daughter missing.
Three days later on April 23, the FBI used search dogs to look for Isabel and investigate the Celis family home. The Huffington Post reported in 2012 that authorities said one dog may have discovered evidence that required further investigation, but authorities would not elaborate on what they found.
According to CNN, the discovery of Isabel’s remains was not by chance, but Police Chief Magnus would not say what led officers to the location.
More than 2,000 leads have been actively investigated and followed in Isabel’s case since the day she vanished, Magnus stated, according to ABC News. He asserted that the police department is continuing to actively pursue those who are “responsible for any kind of involvement in Isabel’s disappearance.”
Isabel’s family released a statement after the discovery of the little girl’s remains, saying the following.
“We want to thank the community for the support they have continued to show for Isa over the years and for refusing to give up hope. Now is our time to mourn. We ask for our privacy during this time so that we can do that.”
This will be only comment from Isabel Celis family at this time. pic.twitter.com/udZwY5X99o— Barbara Grijalva (@BGrijalvaKOLD) March 31, 2017
Almost a year ago, Crime Watch Daily reported on Isabel’s case, indicating that at one point the girl’s family hired a private investigator who looked closely at a relative. The investigator told the news media outlet that the relative and his friend were unable to account for six hours regarding their activities on the day Isabel vanished.
The relative left the area a few weeks later and then hired a criminal attorney, the private investigator told Crime Watch Daily. Nonetheless, police have never named the relative as a person of interest or suspect in the case.
Crime Watch Daily reported that it “uncovered previously unreleased footage from three store security cameras pointing toward Isabel’s… neighborhood.” After examining the video, the news outlet reported, “At 1:24 a.m., a large van passes through. At 2:36 a private security vehicle stops and hits the lights. Then at 3:32, a figure crosses the front parking lot. A little later, another figure of a man crosses the lot.”
To date, no information has been released about persons of interest or suspects in Isabel’s case. Magnus asks that anyone who may have information on potential suspects to contact authorities, as the investigation is ongoing.
Tipsters can contact 88-CRIME or the Tucson Police Department at 520-791-6813 and remain anonymous as they relay any information they may have regarding the Isabel Celis case.
[Featured Image by Tucson Police Department]