Monday, September 9, 2013

Missing Children - Isabel Celis and Hailey Dunn - What Now?

Isabel Celis at age 6
Hailey Dunn at age 12

Isabel Celis disappeared from the bedroom of her family home over one and ½ years ago, on April 20, 2012.  When her father went to wake her at 8 a.m. for an early morning baseball game, she was missing.

Her father called the police stating in a relatively calm voice, “ Um, I want to report a missing person.  My little girl who's 6 years old. I believe she was abducted from our house.”

He was asked where the child’s mother is.  He chuckled and responded, “"She had just left for work and I told her to get her butt home.”

Much is made of his demeanor and lack of tears in broadcasts.

Sergio was working as a dental hygienist at the time and also is a singer with the local opera.

Isabel’s two brothers are sad figures who desperately searched the neighborhood on foot and bikes to find their baby sitter in those first early hours.  One hopes they’ve gotten support and counseling, it is hard to lose a sibling and not know what happened on top of that.

Isabel’s mother states she left at 7 a.m. for an early morning shift at Tucson hospital.  Before leaving, she didn’t check on her daughter.  She told news teams she wishes she had, but she just didn’t. 

On news clips and on the initial call to Police she is near hysterical and clearly suffering.  At times she becomes angered by the questions asked of her, those that question her ability to maintain her composure as the investigation continues.  She tells reporters that she doesn’t have to cry every time just because it’s expected.

Who knows how any of us would act if our child disappeared?

  Her home is surrounded by a concrete block fence about 5 feet high.  The family had about 3 dogs in the home at the time.  As she disappeared from her bedroom, her father fell asleep on the couch in the living room, not far from the door to her room.  On the other side of her house, her two brothers slept together.  Often, Isa would sleep with them in their room as she was afraid of being alone and liked being with her brothers.  In another part of the house, Isa’s mother went to sleep in the parental bedroom. 

For a brief time, police and child protective services had Sergio Celis leave the home.  The public, of course, for privacy reasons, was never told why.  The Celis’s have a large extended family locally and in Mexico.  Sergio’s parents, Isa’s grandparents, live right down the block from the family.

On the morning the 6 year old was abducted from her home, a close neighbor claimed that they heard men’s voices arguing by the Celis home and the Celis dogs barking wildly.

The screen to the window in the child’s room was off the window.  Police removed things and bags of “evidence” from the home.  The public has never heard if anything turned up as a result of this investigation except that she hasn’t been found.

Tucsonans posted pictures of the missing child everywhere in Tucson, Marana and Oro Valley and vigils were held for months.

After 6 days, Tucson police wound down the wide neighborhood search and downsized the number of officers involved in the case.  But, they kept the case alive and FBI analysts came in for the continued investigation.

In early may, Tucson Police Detectives contacted CPS concerning information regarding the safety of the two older boys in the home.  CPS worked with the family on a voluntary agreement for Sergio Celis to move out of the home and have no contact with the children.  The children stayed with their mother.  Why?  The public doesn’t know as family records are considered confidential, as protected by the laws enacted by our state legislature. 

He may have been depressed or suicidal over the disappearance of his daughter, he may have been involved in drugs in some way or had associates who were, he may have been angry and inappropriate with his boys, he may have used excessive corporal discipline, someone could have reported something about the family….who knows?  The agreement was voluntary and the children weren’t removed, the courts weren’t involved.

A cadaver dog and another specialized tracking dog hit on a foreign smell in the Celis home, but couldn’t determine the relation to the child’s disappearance.

A landfill was searched for the remains of Isabel in 2012.

The family hired a private investigator this year.

She turned eight without her family and I pray she is not hurting.

Recently, Sergio Celis said a family member has information or may have information about her disappearance, but this person obtained a lawyer and won’t talk to their private investigator.  Can the police talk to this lead?  Or have they already?

In the first few weeks of the investigation, the police followed up on about 1500 leads.  Over a million dollars was spent.  If I knew what I could do to help them, I would have, but we weren’t invited in.  We’ve heard nothing since the early months.  What’s happened since then?

The Celis family is very involved in their church.  They have regular masses to remember and to celebrate their child’s life.  Her mother is convinced she will be found and will come home safe.

Isabel is not the only child who disappeared mysteriously and without answers in the last 2 or so years.  A child named Hailey Dunn disappeared in Texas a couple of years ago and has never been seen again.  Most children who disappear are taken by relatives for one reason or another.

But not all.  Stranger abduction is a reality.  What is happening?  Are children being taken to pay off drug debts?  Are children taken for underground sex trade or child pornography?  Who is out there with the missing children?  The ones who hurt and kill children are beyond comprehension.  Once you hurt a child, in any way, you shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely in society – my opinion.  May not be yours, but I’d like children to be able to be innocent again and free to play on our streets and to sleep in their bedrooms.

We have to find them; they threaten us all.  There are still monsters and demons walking the earth.  I don’t want to believe it, but they are out there.

Now what?

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