Hundreds attend vigil for missing 6-year-old girl - Tucson News Now

Hundreds attend vigil for missing 6-year-old girl

Isabel Celis is 44 inches tall and weighs approximately 44 pounds. She has light brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. Isabel Celis is 44 inches tall and weighs approximately 44 pounds. She has light brown hair and hazel-colored eyes.
Friends, family and concerned people attend a candlelight vigil Sunday night for Isabel Celis. (Matt Mendes / Tucson News Now) Friends, family and concerned people attend a candlelight vigil Sunday night for Isabel Celis. (Matt Mendes / Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil Sunday night, April 22, to pray for the safe return of 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis, who disappeared Saturday morning from her bedroom under suspicious circumstances.

The group sang and prayed the Catholic Rosary in front of the old Circuit City building at Broadway and Craycroft.

The search for Celis intensified Sunday as volunteers fanned through Tucson, handing out and putting up fliers.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said 150-200 law enforcement personnel have been working on the case.

Police have locked down the neighborhood on East 12th Street near Park Place Mall since Saturday morning.

"As long as we feel there's a need to continue to search, we will do so," Villasenor said Sunday in a news conference near the family's home.

Villaseñor said police are not ruling out anything in the investigation. Police have extended the search area to 2.5 miles around the home. They have interviewed all registered sex offenders within a 3-mile radius.

Police Lt. Fabian Pacheco said there was a suspicious entry point in the home. Police spokesperson Sgt. Maria Hawke would not say if it were a bedroom window or a door.

Police, who are limiting traffic in and out of the area, have labeled the case as a "suspicious disappearance/possible abduction."

The first-grader's mother and father, Rebecca and Sergio Celis, attended Sunday morning Mass as friends and neighbors joined in the search.

"They were very upset," said Leon Mazza, a deacon at St. Joseph Parish, which is a short walk from their home. "We didn't ask for any information. We just let them know if they need help, come see us."

Parish priest Miguel Mariano said the family regularly attends Mass and said he asked the parents if they needed any help from the congregation. "And then they said, 'No, Father, just prayers,' " Mariano told The Associated Press.

Isabel Celis was last seen at 11 p.m. Friday in the 5600 Block of East 12th Street, where she lives with her parents and two older brothers, police said.

Celis' father went into her bedroom to wake her up the next morning only to find her missing from her bedroom. The family dialed 911 at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Villaseñor said the girl's mother had left the home for work on Saturday morning.

Karen Hebert, a nurse at Tucson Medical Center with Rebecca Celis, said Sunday that she has worked with the girl's mother for the past six months. Hebert, with help from her dog, planned to help with the search.

"She talks very highly about her kids, how smart they are, how playful they are. She just lights up and smiles when she's talking about them," Hebert told AP. "With all the hurt I'm feeling, I can't imagine what they're going through."

Celis is described as a light-skinned Caucasian or Hispanic female. She is 44 inches tall and weighs approximately 44 pounds. She has light brown hair and hazel-colored eyes.

The Academy of Tucson student was last seen with her hair in two long braids. She is missing two front teeth, one upper tooth and one lower tooth.

Villaseñor said the neighborhood near Celis' home is not a high-crime neighborhood. He described it as a mostly middle-class, residential area.

The police chief said some warrants were served in the case Saturday.

Local and federal law enforcement and rescue agencies were assisting Tucson police. The FBI and U.S. Marshal's and Pima County Sheriff's offices were helping with evidence and the neighborhood search. The Arizona Department of Corrections provided bloodhounds. The Tucson Fire Department was on scene with equipment and personnel.

Anyone with information on Celis should call 911 immediately, Villaseñor said.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved. Includes information from The Associated Press.

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