Police looking around basins, lakes for Isabel

2012-04-27T00:00:00Z 2013-09-10T17:14:32Z Police looking around basins, lakes for IsabelVeronica M. Cruz and Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson police have now moved their search for Isabel Celis to lakes at city parks and other bodies of water, Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor said Thursday evening.

Law enforcement officers have looked around the lake at Chuck Ford Lakeside Park, east of South Pantano Road and south of East Golf Links Road, and several water-retention basins in the area, Villaseñor said.

The department is not using dive teams but is looking for anything around the water that could be connected to Isabel's disappearance, Villaseñor said at an evening news briefing.

Police have not received any tips that led to the searches of the bodies of water, but they're exploring "all possibilities," he said.

"I'd think we'd be remiss if we didn't search those areas that could possibly be a location," he said on the sixth day of the search.

Isabel, 6, was reported missing from her midtown home at 8 a.m. Saturday. She was last seen at 11 p.m. Friday when she went to bed.

Villaseñor said officers are still interviewing people in the area around Isabel's house. He said anyone who lives in the vicinity of the home who hasn't been contacted by police should call 88-CRIME to set up an interview.

"We want to talk to everyone," he said Thursday evening. "If anyone has information on this investigation, we definitely would love to talk to them."

Villaseñor said the department is keeping track of the cost of the investigation, which at its peak included about 200 officers searching for the girl. He said the cost so far has not been determined.

There are now 50 officers investigating the case and between 20 and 30 officers performing other duties, he said.

FBI profilers are still involved in the case, he said. He said he didn't know if the specially trained agents have questioned Isabel's family.

Police reviewing lead sheets

Earlier Thursday, police said the search is focusing on follow-ups of information that officers received during the first stages of the investigation.

Detectives are reviewing lead sheets, containing answers from residents to several questions asked by officers during a canvass of the area surrounding the Celis home, in the 5600 block of East 12th Street, over the last several days.

"When we go through these lead sheets if they identify something that may interest us we will be sending some of our officers out to that area to follow up to check those areas," said Tucson police Lt. Fabian Pacheco. "We want to be absolutely certain we've covered everything in terms of the canvassing search."

Sergio Celis, Isabel's father, appeared in Tucson City Court on Thursday morning for an arraignment hearing on dog vaccination, licensing and running-at-large violations. He entered a not guilty plea to all charges. The charges are unrelated to the investigation of Isabel's disappearance, Pacheco said.

Neighbor's account

A neighbor of the Celis family shared her account of what she noticed the morning Isabel was reported missing.

Alicia Stardevant, who lives next door to the Celis family, said she heard male voices outside her window last Saturday.

Stardevant was awakened about 6:30 a.m. Saturday by her own dog barking and the sound of the Celises' dogs "going crazy." She believes the family has one large dog and three smaller ones.

"I heard two male voices … outside my bedroom window because my bedroom window is directly across from (Isabel's) bedroom window," she said.

But she didn't check to see who the voices belonged to.

"It was light outside, I didn't really think anything of it," she said. "I thought maybe someone was going for a walk."

About 8 a.m. she said an officer and Isabel's uncle showed up at her door to say she was missing.

"It's terrible and I felt so bad," she said.

She said she looked over the wall separating the Celis home from the walkway to her apartment and saw that Isabel's window was wide open and the screen had been taken off.

Police have scoured the Los Reales Landfill, washes and drainage areas surrounding the home near Broadway and Craycroft Road and visited homes within a three-mile radius of the home looking for clues about Isabel's disappearance.

Authorities have not identified any persons of interest in the case.

How to help

Anyone with information can call 911 or 88-CRIME (882-7463).

Crime website

Isabel Celis' disappearance is now prominently featured on "America's Most Wanted" website - www.amw.com

The TV show's site includes a synopsis of the case, photos of the girl and phone numbers to call with tips.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.

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