Tucson police report for the first time since her disappearance, that little Isabel Celis was abducted. Previously they characterized the case as a “suspicious disappearance/possible abduction.”
Isabel was reported missing by her father on April 21. Her mother had last seen her when they put her to bed the night before.
According to various news reports, a neighbor said at approximately 6:30 a.m., she heard dogs barking and male voices outside her bedroom window. Isabel’s bedroom window was found open with the screen pushed aside.
Last week, Tucson police announced that Child Protective Services (CPS) had intervened in the case and were restricting access of Isabel’s two siblings to their mother only. CPS intervention is common in missing children’s cases.
However, police confirm that CPS had visited the Celis home in December of last year. CPS reportedly would not say why they made the visit to the Celis home.
The Tucson Police released a statement on the involvement of CPS, “It needs to be stressed that it is common practice for CPS to become involved in investigations regarding missing children.”
The press speculated that Isabel’s father Sergio was not emotional enough when he called to report his daughter missing. Policed released the recording of the parents’ 911 calls.
Experts weighing in on the calls, offer varying assessments of Sergio’s demeanor, describing his delivery as “in denial,” “numb,” or shocked.
Sergio Celis told a 911 operator that he believed his daughter was abducted, “I want to report a missing person….. my little girl, who is six years old. I believe she was abducted from the house.”
Police spokeswoman Maria Hawke said “She didn’t get up and leave the house on her own,” but would not say how they knew that. According to the Arizona Republic, experts say the abduction of a child from a home is relatively rare.
According to the Arizona Republic, David Pike, who lives on the same block as the Celis family and whose sons used to play with Isabel’s brothers, said Sergio’s 911 call “just struck me as odd. I get excited easily if I think one of my kids are hurt … and then there’s times I’ve just sat there dumbfounded. Maybe that was a dumbfounding moment for him and he wasn’t able to wrap his mind around it right way.”
When Sergio was asked by the 911 operator why he thought Isabel was abducted he responded, “I have no idea. We woke up this morning and went to go get her up, start her baseball game and she’s gone. I woke up my, my sons, I, we looked everywhere in the house and my oldest son noticed that her window was wide open and the screen was lying in the backyard. We’ve looked all around the house, my son…
Operator: Okay, hang on.
Sergio: … are running, yeah my sons are running around the house looking for her.
Operator: The screen was on the ground outside?