Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – It’s a bittersweet gathering for those who know little Isabel Celis: Monday marked her seventh birthday. Family and friends gathered at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church for a special mass – to pray for her safe return – in another showing of prayer and faith, despite few answers.
For many, pictures of little Isa are burned into memory – even those who know her only by name. It’s been more than four months since Isabel disappeared – four months of unanswered questions and no answers – and her birthday, of all days, makes things even tougher on the Celis family.
“Today has been really hard. We got flowers from family and friends and they were all really sweet. But it’s been really hard to want to celebrate when she’s not here,” said Rebecca Celis, Isabel’s mother.
So the gathering was not so much a celebration as it was a remembrance; not so much a time for creating new memories as simply cherishing old ones. For her brothers, a birthday that would’ve been filled with the 7-year-old’s laughter … is now empty.
“It’s been really hard. I’ve been missing her and I pray to God to please help us find her,” said Isabel’s brother Julian Celis.
“I just pray that I will even see her in my sleep. I always dream about her just to have a blessing of eve seeing her in my sleep,” said Isabel’s other brother, Sergio.
And so dozens of people gather in faith and for prayer. And they hope, despite the tears – that there will soon be a reason for a real celebration: Isa’s homecoming.
“Mainly I pray that she comes home quickly and safely the next day so we don’t have to live another day of this nightmare,” 15-year-old Sergio said.
Sgt. Maria Hawke, a spokesperson for the Tucson Police Department, told KGUN9 she is not aware of any updates on the case.