Missing: Isabel Celis
Day 50: Volunteers hold on to hope, raise money for Isabel with car wash
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Saturday marked 50 days since 6-year-old Isabel Celis vanished from her east side home. For police, it has been a non-stop search, combing through every piece of evidence and more than 1,000 leads. And for the Tucson community, there's an ongoing effort to keep the focus on finding Isabel, no matter how long it takes.
In the weeks after Isabel disappeared, volunteers organized carwashes, concerts and vigils to get the word out; however, the challenge now is to maintain awareness, at a time when resources and hope continue to dwindle.
For many of the volunteers, finding the little girl isn’t a hope but a mission, one more challenging because as the days go on community interest continues to wane. They said that’s why the volunteer effort is so important now.
“The biggest trouble is keeping hope in the public. The volunteers – we continue to hold out and pray everyday, and we come across obstacles whether it’s people or businesses that no longer want to help or support us,” said Scott Salver, a volunteer.
But many people do want to help out, including those who said they can’t imagine what the Celis family is going through and want to help by buying t-shirts, passing out fliers and getting their cars washed.
Mike Ronquillo is one of those people and has a grandchild Isabel’s age.
“There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about it, that I grab my kids and watch them and take care of them. I think we are more protective of other children … because of what’s happened and that’s a positive thing,” Ronquillo said.
It’s a positive thing that’s inspired even young volunteers like 9-year-old Giovanni Danella to help out.
“It feels really great. I’m happy because I’ve been bugging my mom so I could help. They have a volunteer command center at our school so I can actually help and volunteer,” Danella said.
While police work hard to crack a case that has gripped this community, those at the car wash said what they want most is for Isabel to be found safe and sound.
“There is a 6-year-old girl missing and no matter who’s responsible, she deserves to come home,” Salver said.
The money raised at the car wash will go to the Bring Isa Home fund, to purchase more fliers, t-shirts and ads.