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Tuscon PD searches for 6-year old girl who vanished from home overnight

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — 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.

This undated photo provided by the Tucson Police Dept. shows Isabel Mercedes Celis. Tucson police are searching for a 6-year-old girl who went missing from her home on the city's east side. Isabel Mercedes Celis was last seen late Friday and discovered to be missing at about 8 a.m. Saturday, April 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Tucson Police Dept.)

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.

Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Arlene Culpepper, Asst. Editor-in-Chiefhttp://www.mikodreamz.com
Vice-President & Asst. Editor-in-Chief of The Heat Magazine, Arlene is a Louisiana native, Certified Paralegal, Publicist, Owner of MIKODreamz PR, co-owner of 504Diffusion, writer, producer, and jack of all trades, who is heavily involved in her community as well as serving as Media Advisor for New Orleans Union for Entertainment (NOUE), Member of the NOLA Music Awards from 2012-present & Member of the Press Club of New Orleans. Her work is published across the web. Her PR work has been highly recognized & awarded. She was/is publicist for the late great BTY YoungN, 0017th and more. She is also working on her first novel & aspires to turn it into a film & is currently writing the authorized biography of the legendary Pimp C of UGK. She can be reached via email at Arlene@theheatmag.com. Follow her on Twitter - @CategorySeven & Instagram - @hurricanearlene.
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