Searchers scour Tucson for missing 6-year-old girlTUCSON, Ariz. — Law officers searched Sunday for a 6-year-old Arizona girl who vanished from her home during the night in a case police said was suspicious and possibly a kidnapping.
By: By Terry Tang, Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
TUCSON, Ariz. — Law officers searched Sunday for a 6-year-old Arizona girl who vanished from her home during the night in a case police said was suspicious and possibly a kidnapping.
The parents of first-grader Isabel Mercedes last saw her in her bedroom at their Tucson home at 11 p.m. Friday and discovered her missing at about 8 a.m. Saturday, police spokeswoman Sgt. Maria Hawke said. The parents phoned 911 minutes later.
Investigators were looking into various scenarios, including the possibility Isabel wandered out of the home she shares with her parents and two brothers. Hawke said Sunday that authorities were treating the case as “a suspicious disappearance and possible abduction.”
Both parents attended a morning Mass at St. Joseph's Church, which is walking distance from the girl's home.
Leon Mazza, a deacon at the church, said the parents were doing “as well as can be expected.”
“They were very upset. We didn't ask for any information. We just let them know if they need help, come see us,” Mazza said.
After a fruitless day of searching Saturday, numerous patrol and search and rescue personnel continued the hunt Sunday morning, Hawke said. She said that at any given time, 75 to 100 officers were taking part, including police, FBI agents and deputy U.S. marshals.
Teams combed an area of Tucson on Saturday around East Broadway Boulevard and Craycroft Road into the evening using street patrols, canines and a helicopter. At one point late Saturday, communications operator Patrick Olea said the area encompassed “pretty much the entire east side.”
Also involved are Department of Corrections bloodhounds, search and rescue experts and a Pima County rapid response team.
The girl's home is situated in a working-class neighborhood, sandwiched between a shopping mall to the east and businesses and a Catholic school to the west.
Friends of the family fanned out to distribute fliers with a photo of Isabel, who is described as just under 4-feet-tall and weighing 44 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.
“We're really surprised or shocked that anything like this could happen to our family,” the girl's uncle, Justin Mastromarino, told KVOA-TV in Tucson.
Neighbors told KVOA-TV that they couldn't understand how something like this could happen to the Celis family.
“They're amazing people. They're very nice very sweet (and) outgoing,” neighbor Jerry Pike said.