Day 18: 1,000 leads, 50 investigators and one missing girl

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Day 18: 1,000 leads, 50 investigators and one missing girl

CREATED May 8, 2012

Reporter: Kevin Keen

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson police and federal investigators continue the search for Isabel Celis, missing for 18 days now. The department reports 50 detectives and officials are reviewing the more than 1,000 tips received to date.

Police still consider the six year old's case a "possible abduction" with no suspects and no one in the clear. What would it take to rule someone out?

“One example is if we can definitely prove that they were not in the city of Tucson at any point during the timeframe when she potentially went missing so between 11 p.m. Friday night to 8 a.m. Saturday morning,” Sgt. Maria Hawke said during the Tuesday afternoon media briefing. “If we definitely prove that somebody was not in town, it eliminates them primarily from the suspicion of actually having taken her, but we then have to take the next step and eliminate them from any potential of knowing about it or having knowledge of the incident.”

While investigators stay on the trail, volunteers continue passing out fliers and collecting donations.

“Raising the awareness, keeping the awareness up, realizing it could be a marathon,” volunteer Steve Raw told 9 On Your Side. “We can't give up.”

Raw said the group's redoubled its efforts to ensure someone is manning the volunteer center, near Craycroft and Broadway and the Celis family home, at all times during the day. Find information on how to help on the “Find Isabel Celis” Facebook page. He said they're prepared for the long haul.

“Elizabeth Smart was missing for nine months,” Raw added. “If we hadn't been looking for her, would she have been found? That's the reason we can't give up our efforts.”

That's something the kidnap victim told 9 On Your Side herself in a recent interview.

"I think you can compare it to my case. I mean, if people gave up after a week of searching for me, I certainly wouldn't be here today,” Smart said over the phone.

Tucson police agreed Tuesday: keeping up volunteer efforts is important.

“Crucial, in fact,” Sgt. Hawke said. “We want to make sure that Isabel's name gets out there as often as possible, that anybody that could possibly see her picture and maybe come across her or have information of where she may be, that they have the information that she is still missing and how to get into contact with authorities.”

Stay with KGUN9 On Your Side and for the latest developments in the search for Isabel Mercedes Celis.