Private investigator: Isabel abducted by two or three people - Tucson News Now

Private investigator: Isabel abducted by two or three people

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Two weeks ago, Tucson News Now brought you information about the Isabel Celis case never before released by the family, the police or anyone.

Tonight, we take it a step further as a private investigator opens up his case file for the very first time.

And he does so only for KOLD News 13.

Jerry Snyder is hell bent on getting to the bottom of things.

He was as federal agent for 25 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration and as an investigator with the National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children.

But he wanted to work more than just a few cases every few months.

That's why he started "Find Me" 12 years ago out of his home near Phoenix.

"The objective at the time was to work on missing children cases," he said.

With the help of retired law enforcement and experts in virtually every field of criminal investigations, including linguistics, body language and handwriting, "Find Me" is committed to doing just that.

"Shortly after Isabel went missing, both Mr. and Mrs. Celis contacted me, separately, and asked if we would get involved in the case," Snyder said.

Separately because, at the time, Sergio Celis was asked by authorities to distance himself from his family, particularly his two boys.

His daughter had just been abducted from her own bedroom and an air of suspicion hung heavily over the family.

"To clear the air with Sergio and Becky," Snyder said, "I interviewed them both separately and together, just so I had a comfortable feeling that neither of them were involved."

"And your conclusions were?" KOLD asked.

"One hundred percent not involved," Snyder said.

Interestingly enough, that's exactly what world-renowned psychic Allison Dubois said the moment she entered the Celis home. 

"When I went into her room, the first thing I heard is, 'It's not my dad,'" Dubois told KOLD News 13.

"I wrote up a profile for the Celis family and felt it was somebody close to them that knew the layout of the house.  It felt like somebody may be on the periphery, which can be a cousin or friend," she said.

As matter of full disclosure, Jerry Snyder and Allison Dubois did collaborate on this case.

But that happened after meeting with the Celises separately and privately on different occasions.  

Despite the skeptics, Snyder said he's used 150 psychics to help find 57 missing persons through his organization over the last nine years.

"Put best to me by a New York detective, he says 'I'll take information from the devil as long as I can find this little girl that he was looking for.'"

Allison Dubois is not part of "Find Me," though Snyder says her findings were right in line with his conclusions.

"For me personally, just the fact that he left town within about five days after Isabel went missing," Snyder said.

He's talking about the extended family member, the cousin or uncle, who promptly left the state and remains uncooperative to this day.

"(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 said.

Opening up the case file, Snyder said that relative, who's had a running feud with Sergio Celis, was with two other people the night Isa went missing.

Surveillance from several locations confirm they were together that night.

But there's a six hour window between 1:30 and 7:30 a.m. in which the group was unaccounted for.

Snyder believes one of the three, a minor, may have gone home after being kicked out of the bar, but two of them stayed together.

"It's my understanding that up until today, he still had a key to their house," Snyder says.

And his friend whom Snyder confronted face to face.

"I didn't believe for one second he was being honest with me," Snyder said, recalling the lone interview he conducted with the friend of the Celis relative.

"He basically didn't admit to anything as far as her abduction, but stated they were out drinking. Three people were out drinking that night."

"I didn't hear her... I never heard her voice," said Alicia Stardevant who lived immediately next to the Celis home and who has said she heard something outside her window the night Isa was abducted.  "I heard a couple of male voices right outside my bedroom window, right outside her bedroom window."

Voices alone aren't any indication of guilt, but it does arouse suspicion at the very least.

"I came up with three separate individuals that I believe had contact either that night," Snyder said.

Snyder firmly believes at least one of these guys played a role in Isa's abduction.

"Narrowed it down to at least two suspects that possibly took Isabel, but from that point we could not determine as to where they took her," Snyder said.

When asked if that family member could possibly do any harm to Isa, a little girl he spent a lot of time with, Snyder said, "If you combine alcohol and the motive of getting back at Sergio, certainly anything is possible."

"They want answers," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor. "Any parent would."

But does TPD buy any of this?

If so, they'd never say so publicly.

"The problem is, until we have definitive answers ourselves as to what occurred, we keep a lot of our investigative information close to the vest," Villasenor said.

All they will say is it remains a wide open case and that nobody's been cleared of anything.

"We have good information. We have credible information we've followed up on, but not enough to take this to court on anything," Villasenor said.

For the record, Tucson Police would not speak to Tucson News Now on camera this time around about the Celis investigation.

For this report, TNN used our most recent interview on file with Chief Villasenor. 

All told, TPD has investigated more than 2,200 leads and spent more than $1 million on the case.

As the chief said, they, too, have some pretty strong suspicions about what happened.

But without that pivotal piece of evidence: DNA, an eyewitness or a body, this will remain a wide-open and unsolved case.

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