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Two girls, two murders, one suspect

The deaths of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzalez
Posted at 4:35 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-01 19:35:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - It was a Tucson mystery that touched hearts around the world.  Where did six-year-old Isabel Celis go? The answer that finally came tied the fates--and the deaths of two girls together.

They were two young girls.  They disappeared years apart but the fate of one helped solve the mystery of the other.
Isabel Celis was the best known of the two.
Her family found her missing one Saturday morning six years ago.
As Tucsonans hunted and hoped, her story brought attention from all over the world.
For a time, suspicion fell on her father, from people who thought his 911 call seemed too calm to come from an innocent man.

Sergio Celis: “Hello, I need to report a uh, missing child. I believe she was abducted from my house.”

Dispatcher: “Okay. How old?”

Sergio: “Six years old.”

Dispatcher: “Okay is it your daughter or?”

Sergio: “Yes.”

Dispatcher: “Why do you think she abducted?”

Sergio: “I have no idea. We woke up this morning and went to go get her up, start her baseball game and she's gone. I woke up my, my sons, I, we looked everywhere in the house and my oldest son noticed her window was wide open and the screen was laying the backyard. We've looked all around the house, my son…”

Dispatcher: “Okay, hang on.”

Sergio:”...are running, yeah, my sons are running around the house looking for her.”
Sergio Celis would not be charged---another man would---but he would be tied to another death first.
Two years after Isabel Celis disappeared, 13 year old Maribel Gonzales body was found in a field in Avra Valley.  She had failed to come home two days before.
Three years after Maribel Gonzales body was found, investigators discovered some DNA samples from her body had never been tested.
Investigators say there's a match to this man--Christopher Clements--a man with a history as a sex offender and someone accused of burglary, scams and other crime.
To convince prosecutors to drop one of those charges, he offers information--on Isabel Celis.
Police go where he leads.  In March 2017 they confirm after years of hope Isabel Celis could still be alive, there is no hope.

Tucson Police Chief Christopher Magnus told a news conference: “Unfortunately, the results of this DNA anaylsis did confirm that the remains were those of Isabel Celis."
Eighteen months go by before investigators reveal Christopher Clements guided them to the remains of Isabel Celis---in the same Avra Valley field where Maribel Gonzales was found.
They charge Clements with kidnapping and killing Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzales.
Unrelated charges kept Clement locked up while detectives built their case.
Investigative reports show the day Isabel Celis disappeared, Clements cell phone was transmitting near where her body was found--and he got a new phone the next day.
Reports also offer a possibility for how the six year old girl caught Clements attention.
Detectives say besides burglary and other crime, Clements made a business of buying, fixing and selling cars, usually Honda and Acuras.  
Isabel Celis' mother Becky said a man came to the Celis house twice and tried to buy an old Acura there.  Sergio Celis said the man made a third offer. They described the man as looking Hispanic and having facial hair.
Tucson Police records confirm a selfie of Clements showing facial hair.  It was taken April 29, 2012---nine days after Isabel disappeared from the family's home.
Now after years of waiting, the families of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzalez must wait even longer for the year or more typical before a murder case comes to trial.