7-year-old joins effort to find missing girl
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUSON (KGUN9- TV) - Hundreds of community members and friends are joining the effort to find 6-year-old Isabel Celis, including one young volunteer with a passion for helping people.
Nicolas Carbonetto just turned seven, and he doesn't know Isabel Celis. When he spotted a missing child poster while out with his cousin, he asked about it. She told him the little girl was lost and everyone is looking for her.
"He was pretty concerned from the get go," said Carbonetto's cousin Alicia Garcia, "when we were driving home he looked out the window the whole way."
Carbonetto asked his aunt to put a picture of Isabel on her cell phone so he could look at it while he searched for her. When they got home, he took to his markers and pencils, making his own posters for the missing girl.
"I want her to be back home," said Carbonetto, "So I put up more posters so if people go walk and they can't find any they just found some of mine."
They hang in places like Peter Piper Pizza, Starbucks, Target and other businesses that let him borrow their message boards or walls for the home-made fliers. They depict a stick-figure girl riding a scooter, or sleeping with her teddy bear. Carbonetto says he wants people to know what she looks like.
It's a difficult subject for many parents to bring up with their children. Child and Family Resources spokesperson Marie Fordney calls Carbonetto's reaction remarkable.
"It's amazing to me that a seven-year-old would hear about something that's really very scary happening and move into that helping mode to do something positive towards a resolution is really very healthy," she said, "I'm very impressed."
But, not every child responds the same way. Fordney had a few tips for parents in addressing this subject with their child.
"The first thing that's really important to me to bring up is that this is extremely rare," she said, "I would wait until it comes up because what you don't want is to raise your children in a way that they become adults who are afraid to walk down the street."
She also says to be cautious when answering follow-up questions.
"If a six-year-old asks 'why are the police looking in the landfill?'" she said, "Then you might say something as simple as they're trying to see if they can find something that will help them figure out what happened."
One thing Fordney does encourage is to talk safety. This may open a good opportunity to make sure children know their address, phone number, 9-1-1, and stranger danger.
As for Carbonetto, he says he knows his safety information, and will continue to make hand-made posters until Isabel comes home.