Finding Isabel: one year later

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - One year after Isabel's disappearance, a number of lingering questions remain: Is this case still an active one? Do authorities have any new or significant leads to go on? Is there really a chance this missing little girl is still alive?

Tucson police continue to hold the investigation very close to the vest.

Though in this special report, we give you an inside look beyond the press releases and inside the very home Isabel Celis went missing.

While many people have only seen the house on television, what happened here one year ago is all too real.

Six-year-old Isabel Celis was taken from her own bedroom.

It happened sometime after 11 p.m. on April 20, 2012.

That's when the little girl went to bed.

The next morning, when her father reportedly went to her room to wake her up, Isabel was gone.

"We unfortunately are not much different than we were six months ago."

Tucson police Chief Roberto Villaseñor still believes Isabel was abducted.

But by whom and why, it's still unclear.

Based on documents released by Tucson police, we know that blood samples were found in Isabel's room.

We also know about a shower cap and shower curtain with brownish stains on them were found nearby.

But when we asked Villaseñor about these very things.

"No, we don't want to talk about those," Villaseñor said, shaking his head.

Tucson Police Department's top cop would only say this, "We have good information. We have credible information we've followed up on, but not enough to take us to court on anything," he said.

Isabel's father, Sergio Celis, doesn't agree.

"I am completely appalled that this is where we are and this is how we're being treated throughout this whole investigation," Celis said.

Isabel's parents, Sergio and Becky Celis have heard just about everything.

Rumors that they are somehow responsible for their daughter's disappearance.

And that Tucson police focused on them, and only them, from the very beginning.

"We haven't ruled out anyone," Villaseñor said.

Through it all, they've stay committed to their faith and to each other. Becky says she'd do it all over again if only it brought her daughter back.

"And at the end, it's not even the fact that we're getting blown off," Becky Celis said.  "But my baby girl's not home yet. We need her home. She needs to be here with us."

Just like their other two children, boys ages 11 and 15, Sergio and Becky only speak of Isabel in present tense.

Her newly-decorated bedroom is the perfect case in point.

"As you walk in it's a completely, totally different room," Becky said.

From the purple walls with polka dots to the brand new dresser and bed, "It's all new.  I can't wait for her to see it," Becky said.  "I think she's gonna go crazy."

The idea is to show Isabel how much she's loved both by her family and the community.

Unopened presents line the bedroom walls, as do letters from children Isabel's never even met.

"What feelings go through you when you're in this room," we asked Becky.

"Hope. Because it's all new," she said.  "It's a new room. Just the thought of when she walks into this new room and how excited she's going to be."

As for the investigation, TPD's spent nearly $1 million on the Celis case with two full-time detectives still reviewing information every day.

"When you run out of new leads or new information, you're obligated to go back and revisit what you have before," Villaseñor said.

Statistically, Villaseñor knows the chances of Isabel's safe return aren't very high.

But that doesn't change anything from an investigative point of view

Abducted children have resurfaced months, sometimes even years after being kidnapped.

That's why nobody connected to this case is even close to giving up hope.

"As a chief I'm a realist and the more time that goes on it makes me a little more cynical, but as parent I'm hopeful," Villaseñor said.

Needless to say this investigation is still wide open.  Which is why authorities are still looking for the slightest piece of evidence that could potentially crack this case.  If you have any such information, you're encouraged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

Prayer services for Isabel Celis will be held at 9 am Sunday, April 21 at St. Joseph Church, 215 S. Craycroft Road.

A family event will follow that day at Peter Piper's Pizza near Park Place Mall, 5925 East Broadway Boulevard.

A percentage of the proceeds from that event will go the find Isabel fund.

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