TUCSON, Ariz. — The Pima County medical examiner has ruled the death of a 6-year-old Tucson girl as “homicide by unspecified means” nearly eight months after her body was found.
Isabel Celis disappeared from her house in April 2012, and her body was discovered in a rural area of southern Arizona in March. The heavily redacted autopsy report released on Tuesday does not indicate how she died.
The remains included parts of the child’s skull and pelvis and were recovered from a location that the report only describes as rural. The identity was confirmed through DNA testing at an independent lab outside the state.
The autopsy that began in March included work by pathologists, forensic anthropologists and Tucson police personnel. Officers visited the location where the remains were found to collect more evidence, and they conducted a “hands and knees search” of the area, according to the report. Something of value was discovered and sent to the medical examiners’ office. It’s unclear what was collected due to the redactions in the report.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said at a news conference in March that police found the remains “not by happenstance.”
“Obviously this is not the ending that any of us had hoped for, but this is also not the ending of the case. We are working this case very aggressively as we would with any case involving the death of a child,” he said in March.
The father reported Celis missing the next morning after finding she was not in her bedroom. Police have never named any suspects, but they said they found “suspicious circumstances around a possible entry point” in the home.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and that anyone with any information should contact authorities.
Corrects 1st paragraph to ‘medical examiner has’; corrects 5th graf to ‘told a news conference’