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Police: Celis parents living separately; 1 parent not allowed contact

Police: Celis parents living separately; 1 parent not allowed contact

CREATED May 11, 2012

Reporter: Kevin Keen

Web Producer: Ina Ronquillo and Marissa Pasquet

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson police tell KGUN9 News the siblings of 6-year-old Isabel Celis, missing for 21 days, are now in the custody of one parent and the other parent is not allowed to see them. TPD clarified the family's situation and custody matters late Friday night, but would not say which parent--Sergio or Rebecca--has custody.

TPD said the developments leading to the custody change are “significant." Those developments also have Ariz. Child Protective Services taking an active role in the case.

Lt. Fabian Pacheco told KGUN9 detectives, as recently as Thursday, “came into some information which they considered to be important enough to share with Child Protective Services. They contacted these folks, they sent one of their personnel here to police headquarters.”

Pacheco said that CPS representative met with Tucson police and then with the Celis family. He stressed that is common practice in missing child cases and CPS has been involved with this case since about the beginning.

But Pacheco said CPS has “instituted some safety measures to ensure the children's welfare." The department clarified by email late Friday, stating Isabel's two older siblings are now in the custody of one parent and the other parent is not allowed to see the children. The department wouldn't elaborate further and would not say which parent has custody because that may hamper the investigation.

“There's a lot of details that I can't share with you: what got us to this point, what was that information,” Pacheco said.

KGUN9 contacted CPS, which confirmed it is "working closely with law enforcement." A statement from the agency to KGUN9 read: "At the present time, the children are not in CPS custody. The [Ariz. Department of Economic Security] appreciates the community's support and understanding in protecting the privacy rights and safety needs for these children during this ongoing joint investigation."

KGUN9 reached out to multiple people who've spoke for the Celis family, but had not received a response from them or the family as of Friday evening

Meanwhile, the search for Isabel and the person or people who may have taken her will continue through the weekend.

“We're not eliminating anyone in particular from suspicion or overly casting suspicion on any one individual either,” Pacheco said.

Stay with KGUN9 On Your Side and KGUN9.com for the latest developments in the search for missing six-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis.