Tech advances help find missing persons in southern AZ

Tech advances help find missing persons in southern AZ

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - More than three years after 6-year-old Isabel Celis disappeared from her home, investigators released a new photo of what she might look like now.

The photo was created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and released on Monday morning.

The center has created more than 5,800 age-progression images of missing children since its founding in 1984.

More than 1,300 of those children have been recovered.

There are currently four forensic artists on staff, whose goal is to update childrens' photos every two years.

Once a missing child reaches the age of 18, their photo is updated every five years until he or she is recovered.

"This has been extremely helpful to us in long-term missing children cases because we don't give up hope," said Robert Lowery of the center's Missing Children Division, "and we want the public to see what the child would look like today, at least through the eyes of our artists."

Sgt. Chris Warren of the Marana Police Department said earlier this year, police were able to solve a Jane Doe case from the 80s, thanks to composite work.

The FBI created a 3D rendering of a woman from the remains of her skull. Just a few months later, a family recognized their lost loved one, and the case was closed.

Warren said when it comes to detective work, "that's the area where the technology is able to kick in and really solve some cases."

Currently, composites may take some time, as there may be a waiting list.

In the future, Warren said he hopes the process will be even faster.

As for Isabel Celis, Lowery said the center is not giving up hope.

"We're going to continue to look until everything has been checked," he said.

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