Documents detail hours, days and weeks after the disappearance of Isabel Celis
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Newly released documents share steps taken by detectives in the hours, days and weeks following the disappearance of Isabel Celis.
Isabel vanished from her parents’ east-side home overnight April 20, 2012. The Tucson Police Department announced the arrest of Christopher Clements in her kidnapping and murder, as well as the kidnapping and murder and Maribel Gonzalez, in September 2018.
Hundreds of pages of documents were released Wednesday, April 17 by the Pima County Attorney’s Office. The documents outline interviews, lie detector tests and evidence collected following the six-year-old’s disappearance.
As Clements sits behind bars, the documents also shed light into how close detectives were to the accused killer in the hours and days that followed the disappearance of Isabel.
In an interview with detectives hours after Isabel was reported missing on April 21, 2012, Rebecca Celis, Isabel’s mom, was asked about recent strangers and visitors to the family’s home.
She told them “There was a guy who came over about three weeks ago, looking to buy that Acura. He’s come by a couple times.” Celis said she didn’t know his name.
Police have previously said a man matching Clement's appearance went to look at the Celis' family's car, asking if it was for sale.
Another document released showed a list of of registered sex offenders two detectives were asked to meet with and speak to about their whereabouts the night Isabel went missing. The list of sixteen men includes Clements. The detectives documented that they spoke with Clements on May -----, but we don’t know what came out of the officer’s conversation with him.
A 25-page report from one Tucson Police detective details his part in the investigation from when Isabel was reported missing until May 15, 2012. It states Rebecca and Sergio Celis, Isabel’s dad, went a police station on April 22, 2012 to speak with detectives.
The officer wrote Sergio asked when it would be appropriate for “them to go back to their normal life” because their sons had baseball practice. It also stated that when Rebecca asked if they thought Isabel was alive, Sergio said “it has been over 24 hours and that isn’t good.”
The document states the father failed a polygraph test that day and then another 18 days later.
On a number of occasions through the detective’s report, he mentioned Sergio said he talked to a psychic who told him someone the family knew took Isabel.
A discovery inside the six-year-old’s bedroom was also detailed in the report. Detectives found children’s hand printing on a wall and inside a closet. It said things like “Nothing,” “Bad day," "Dad Didn’t, “I don’t like Dad,” and “Bad Dad.”
Throughout the detective’s full report, Sergio continued to deny any involvement in the disappearance of his daughter and was upset at how the investigation was handled.
“We had already been stripped away from our daughter. And we were violated all over again,” Celis said in an interview with KOLD News 13 in January of 2014.
The Celis parents went to the main police station on May 10, 2012 for another polygraph test. According to the detective’s report, Rebecca was asked “two relevant questions; both pertaining to her suspecting Sergio was involved in ----'s disappearance.” The document stated she did not pass.
A lie detector test for Sergio was found to be deceptive after he was asked about whether he was home the entire night Isabel went missing, according to the document.
The documents stated that after detectives told Sergio he could leave, he asked, “why we weren’t arresting him and where is he supposed to go?”
The bodies of both Isabel and Maribel Gonzalez were found near Trico and West Avra Valley roads outside of Tucson.
Christopher Clements has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.
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