In March 2017, the partial remains of Isabel Celis were found and identified in Pima County, Arizona. She had been missing since 2012.
Isabel Celis was reported missing in 2012, five years before her partial remains were found. While the discovery of her remains answered one question, many others still remained. Who took the little girl? Why did they murder her? To that end, this article explores everything that you need to know about the abduction and murder of Isabel Celis, who was found dead at the age of six.
Disappearance of Isabel Celis
To this day, the disappearance of Tuscon, Arizona’s Isabel Celis is still somewhat of a mystery. On April 20, 2012, at approximately 11:00 p.m., she went to bed. Her mother, Rebecca Celis, went to work somewhere before 8:00 a.m., but did not check in on her daughter before leaving.
Shortly after Rebecca left, the rest of her family woke up and discovered that Isabel wasn’t in her room. In fact, she wasn’t anywhere in the home, and her window was open. 911 was called just after 8:00 a.m.
Isabel’s family called 911 to report that the child was missing. Soon, local police and the FBI were all on the case. Unfortunately, not much in the way of evidence was ever discovered. A pair of work boot prints were found not too far from the window. According to some sources, blood was found in Isabel’s room, as was a bloodstained shower curtain.
Neighbors reportedly heard two men talking nearby during the early hours of the morning, but nothing really came of it. Isabel Celis’ parents appeared on The Today Show, pleading for their daughter to be returned. She would never be seen alive again.
Isabel’s parents spearheaded search efforts for their daughter over a number of years. Early on, Rebecca Celis used her Facebook page as a way of getting the word out and spreading information about her daughter’s disappearance to others. From April 2012 onward, it’s not uncommon to find a post where Rebecca mentions her daughter.
Another look into the disappearance commenced in 2014, with new investigators assigned to the case. If any new leads were developed during that time, they were never made public.
Body Found, and Isabel Celis’ Cause of Death
Nearly five years later, investigators were led to a very small amount of human remains in what has been described as a remote area of Pima County, Arizona. The piece of a child’s skull and hip were not enough to get identification. The pieces were sent to an out of state laboratory for DNA testing. Unfortunately, the worst was realized; the remains were of Isabel Celis.
But what happened to her? How did she die? While the autopsy did not reveal a cause of death, Tuscon police declared Isabel Celis’ death a homicide.
Who Killed Isabel Celis?
Now that a body was found, the investigation was renewed, and the prime concern became to find who killed Celis. While nobody was ever charged in her disappearance, there has been a number of suspects, and updates on Isabel Celis’ case over the years.
Early in the investigation, police singled out Sergio Celis, Isabel’s father, as a possible suspect. While he was never charged, Sergio was interviewed a number of times in the disappearance of his daughter. At one point, he was barred from living with his sons while the investigation was ongoing. Sergio said in numerous interviews that he feels Tuscon police wasted crucial time focusing on him instead of looking outwards from the immediate family.
That being said, he also pointed to a different family member in relation to Isabel’s disappearance. He pointed out that a particular relative moved away from the state shortly after his daughter’s disappearance. That same relative often refused to help in the investigation, and hired a lawyer.
Sergio never named the relative, but some sources linked the description to Justin Mastromarino, Rebecca Celis’ cousin. He had an apartment not too far away from the Celis home, and lived with the family for a year.
Neither of the men were ever officially listed as suspects.
Former DEA agent turned private detective, Kelly Snyder told The Sun that there is another possible theory; that Isabel might have been murdered by a serial killer.
“The interesting thing is that there is another girl that went missing two years later and she was found in specific area in Pima County and I believe Isabel was found in Pima County. Are those two connected?”
Snyder went on to point out the similarities to the two victims in race and area where they were taken. While police never spoke out on this theory, they stated that Isabel’s remains were not found by “happenstance.” But, they never elaborated on what that exactly means.
Were police tipped off by the killer? Was there a piece of new evidence found that led them to the remains? A year after Isabel’s body was found, we still don’t know what occurred.
What is known is that Isabel Celis’ family will not give up on the hunt for her killer, and the investigation is still an ongoing concern to Tuscon police. If you have any information, you are asked to call 520-88-CRIME (520-882-7463).