Isabel Celis: Mom Attends Vigil, Defends Husband
(NEW YORK) -- The mother of missing Tucson girl Isabel Celis led hundreds of people on a candlelight walk for her daughter Friday as questions mounted against her husband, who has been barred from contacting the couple's two children.
"It's tough because we're already under a lot of stress because we don't have Isabel here, so to have more thrown on us, but we're strong and we'll be okay, we'll survive it. We just want her back," Rebecca Celis said.
Sergio Celis, the father of the missing 6-year-old, was told last week by authorities he cannot have contact with the girl's two older brothers, who are now in the custody of their mother.
Child Protective Services officials had visited the family's home in December, but officials declined to discuss the circumstances.
Rebecca Celis said her husband wanted to attend the vigil, but was unable to since one of her sons wanted to be there.
"My husband's a great father who loves his boys, who loves his daughter. He's a great husband, a great father. At the end of the day when she comes home, everybody's questions will be answered," Celis told ABC affiliate KGUN.
Police said the development does not mean that investigators are turning their focus on Sergio Celis in the disappearance of his daughter.
"A voluntary agreement was reached between Child Protective Services and the parents to restrict access or, voluntarily, for Sergio to give some space and distance away from the two older children," Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said.
Isabel Celis was reported missing by her father around 8 a.m. April 21 after her mother left for work and her father went to wake her up.
The girl was not in her room, and a bedroom window was opened with the screen removed, police said.
In a 911 call released last week, Sergio Celis sounds calm as he describes finding that the 6-year-old has disappeared from her bed and tells police he thinks she was abducted.
"I want to report a missing person," Sergio Celis says on one of the two recordings, made the morning of April 21. "My little girl, who is 6 years old – I believe she was abducted from our house."
The second recording is of a call featuring Isabel's 14-year-old brother, Sergio, who later gives the phone to his mother after she returns home from work. Both the boy and his mother are frantic, though the woman seems to control herself when she is asked for specific information about the girl's height and weight, what she was wearing, and her hair and eyes.
Police have searched homes in the family's neighborhood, dug through a nearby landfill and searched waterways and drainage systems in Tucson. More than 1,000 tips have poured in regarding the 6-year-old's disappearance.
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