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Police still tracing leads in missing girl case

Associated Press Published: April 28, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Police were settling in for a long, frustrating investigation and reported no breakthroughs in the eighth day of a search for a missing 6-year-old Tucson girl.

Dozens of tips are being investigated for the one that may lead to Isabel Mercedes Celis, but none so far has broken the case open, Tucson police spokesman Lt. Fabian Pacheco said Saturday. Instead, detectives aided by the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service were settling back and reassessing what they needed to do to find the first-grader.

The girl's parents, Becky and Sergio Celis, reported her missing last Saturday morning, saying they last saw her in her room the night before. The couple's two older boys also lived in the home on the city's east side, just down the street from the Catholic church they all regularly attended.

Pacheco said at a Saturday afternoon press briefing that one of five people captured in a video walking by the church the night Isabel was last seen has called them. Detectives want to ask him if the five saw anything unusual.

Police are now discounting the possibility that Isabel got up in the middle of the night and left on her own, Chief Roberto Villasenor said Friday.

Pacheco said Saturday that police in the northern Mexican state of Sonora are on the lookout, in case she was abducted and taken south of the border. He also said talk that police are focusing on a drug connection is misplaced, instead saying detectives are looking at every possible scenario.

"We have to do a broad investigation, look at all possible scenarios, and we're not at a point where we can start eliminating any of them or focusing more efforts on one than another," Pacheco said. "We understand that some folks might feel frustration. Eight days, believe me, we feel it as well.

"This isn't 'CSI Tucson' where we're going to solve this in an hour. It's going to take us a while and we need that patience," he said.

The ground search for Isabel is essentially complete, Pacheco said. "A three-square-mile area around her home was canvassed three times and area ponds, dry streambeds and empty houses repeatedly searched.

The parents are continuing to cooperate with police.

Police say the reward for information in the case is now $50,000, and they've added additional ways for the public to feed tips to them. Besides calling 911, or the local tip telephone line of 520 88-Crime, or a secure smart phone app called TipSoft.

The application lets people anonymously with police. The cope for the Isabel Celis case is Tucsonpd5265.


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