Hundreds attend community funeral service for Isabel Celis - Tucson News Now

Hundreds attend community funeral service for Isabel Celis

Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
Source: KOLD Source: KOLD
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Hundreds of community members came together on Saturday morning, April 29, to celebrate and mourn the life of a Tucson girl, 6-year old Isabel Celis.

Celis has been missing for the past five years, but last month her remains were discovered by investigators in a remote location in Pima County.

The public service was held at St. Augustine Chapel in downtown Tucson.

Isabel’s mother, Becky, addressed the crowd at the end of the service. She thanked the community for all their prayers and support over the years. She asked everyone to “remember my daughter – happy and playful and not in the way she was taken, but the good memories.”

Small cards were handed out before the service with Isabel’s picture. The card lists her birth date as Aug. 27, 2005 and her death date as March 3, 2017. That’s a few weeks before police announced that her body had been found.

Dressed in Isabel’s favorite color, purple, mourners filed into St. Augustine Chapel at 10 a.m. to close the chapter on a missing girl who touched the lives of so many in our community.

“A child full of life and no concerns, just happy,” Mourner Mary Cunningham said.

Isabel was only 6-years-old when she disappeared from her bedroom under suspicious circumstances in April of 2012. Relative Lance Larson said he’s been haunted by her abduction.

“It was awful. When this happened, I would get up three times a night and check on my girls,” Larson said.

Strangers came out in droves during the initial months and even years later to help search for Celis and put up missing person fliers all over town that showed her bright eyes and big smile.

“Pass by her room and she’d be sitting there singing to herself – just a fun kid. Happy-go-lucky kid,” Larson said.

“We’ve been following and praying every night,” Mourner Laura Batt said.

Praying she would come home safe. But in March, investigators discovered Celis' remains in a remote location in Pima County. After the service on Saturday, the purple balloons that once symbolized hope for Celis' safe return now symbolize release, closure and the family’s gratitude for all who helped in the search. Police have not made any arrests in connection to her death. Relatives said they’re still holding out for justice.

“She’s at peace but you would like to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else,” Larson said.

MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Updated AZ driver's manual explains traffic stop rules

    Updated AZ driver's manual explains traffic stop rules

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 9:29 AM EDT2017-07-25 13:29:21 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    The latest edition of the Arizona’s Manual will have a new special section on how people should interact with law enforcement. The new chapter has several updated rules, like what drivers

    The latest edition of the Arizona’s Manual will have a new special section on how people should interact with law enforcement. The new chapter has several updated rules, like what drivers should do when a law enforcement vehicle pulls up behind them with the lights on. Drivers should roll down the window, turn off

  • TUCSON'S TOP 3: What you need to know to start your day

    TUCSON'S TOP 3: What you need to know to start your day

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 8:22 AM EDT2017-07-25 12:22:46 GMT
    John McCainJohn McCain

    Good morning!  We're getting your day started with top stories you may have missed, plus other headlines you need to be following today. For all your local news, watch KOLD News 13 This Morning at 6 a.m.

    Good morning!  We're getting your day started with top stories you may have missed, plus other headlines you need to be following today. For all your local news, watch KOLD News 13 This Morning at 6 a.m.

  • Local bike shop burglarized

    Local bike shop burglarized

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 1:13 AM EDT2017-07-25 05:13:48 GMT

    A local bike shop needs your help tracking down the suspect who broke into their store and made off with an expensive bike. 

    A local bike shop needs your help tracking down the suspect who broke into their store and made off with an expensive bike. 

Powered by Frankly