Isabel Celis’ Remains Found


Samantha Valdez, Reporter

Most of us were in either elementary or middle school when it happened.  On April 20th, 2012, six-year-old Isabel Celis mysteriously disappeared from her home. The screen and window to her bedroom were broken. Isabel’s mother left for work that morning without checking up on her little girl.  When her father, Sergio, went to wake her up at 8am, she was gone.  Kidnapped. This really scared and astonished our Tucson community.  It happened just miles away from Sahuaro.  Parents rushed out to put bars on home windows, vigils were held, everyone had a theory about what happened to little Isa – rumors spread about her father having ties to the Mexican drug cartel.  Others thought a family member definitely took her.  This past weekend, one question was answered, but so many more remain.  Isabel Celis would not be found alive.

On the 22nd of April, 2012 FBI search dogs came in from Virginia. On April 23, Isabel’s family posted a 6,000 dollar reward on 88-CRIME. Almost five years later the remains of Isabel were discovered in a remote area of Pima County.  But who killed her?

At the beginning of the case police suspected Isabel’s father and another relative. Her father reportedly chuckled when he called to report her missing.  The other suspect is Isabel’s cousin who had lived with the family for about a year in the past.  He suddenly, after her disappearance, left the state, cut off all ties to the family, and refused to speak to the private investigator the family hired. “(He) ships his car to Florida, takes off to Washington to stay with a relative for a period and then the fact that he doesn’t want to talk to the police and just basically gets out of dodge — to me that was a red flag,” Snyder, the PI, said.

She made national headlines, with everybody making efforts to find her. “I think its very sad.” said Chris Magnus (Tucson Police Chief). The Chief delivered the news Friday March 31st. After the remains had been found, they were sent to a lab in Virginia. “Unfortunately, the results of this DNA analysis did confirm that the remains were those of Isabel Celis,” said Magnus.  Police have also not reported any suspects, but are still investigating the case. Isabel’s family posted the following message, “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.”