Thinking About Isabel and Heartache in Tucson

The anniversaries of births of an historic figure who committed atrocities recently went by.  The anniversary of a domestic terrorist event also came and went in the past week.  I only wanted to light a candle for the souls of the individuals who perished through these horrible acts by evil people.  I did not want to give any recognition to the responsible individuals.  I still don’t.  I thought this year the events would just pass by.  Then a little girl in my hometown disappeared.  This is the third day she has been missing.  The police are searching everywhere there is any reason to search.  Local police, FBI, even the Border Patrol are in on the search.  There isn’t much we in the community can do other than focus our energies and love on Isabel Celis and her family. From what I can tell from the local news, her mom is a nurse, her dad is a dental tech of some sort,  and there is another child or children in the normal family.  Suspicion does not seem to be falling on the normal, hardworking family.

I cannot help but be reminded of another local missing child who simply disappeared. Karen Rosalba Grajeda was around 6 when she disappeared.  She was the same age as my daughter.  She was playing outside her home when she was abducted.  She was never seen or heard from again.

I can remind anyone who happens across this post of things they can do to make their children safer in their own homes. That is really the only thing I can do with the energy inside me that keeps bringing me back to thinking about Isabel.

Large barking dogs are reported to be among the best deterrents to people breaking into your home.  Lighting is also very important in discouraging break-ins.  But dogs and lighting are primarily discussed in burglary prevention.  Child abduction is another matter entirely, and I have not found the studies I hoped to find on what measures are best for keeping your family safe from person on person crime when you are in your own home.

Bars or grills on windows are effective,  but also slow down evacuation from a home in case of a fire.

I think this heart-breaking topic of child abduction is one of the most maddening crimes to which a person can think about responding.  No one wants the macabre to rule their lives or those of their families.  I used to work as the head of a section in a museum that was responsible for security at a museum, and I worked closely with the police who were the primary responders for any problems.  We did not have our own security force.  Thousands of children came through the museum during the months when school was in session.  I had to think about safety and security in a way that many people will never have to think.  It can profoundly change your outlook on life.

So what can you do to be a bit safer?  Being armed with the facts is one of the best ways to prepare for any situation. has a good overview document on child abduction.

No one can say for sure.  If someone is stalking you or your child in your home and you do not know about it, which would have to be the case for most parents, how do you find out what you do not know about?  To me it seems like risk assessment would be one of the first things to find out about. Extremely rich and powerful people, and celebrities, think about safe-guarding their families from kidnapping, but most people do not consider in home abduction to be a major threat to their families. Child abductions at home are relatively rare.

The things that I initially thought of include:

  • Do you have convicted sex offenders and sexual predators living near you?  How can you tell?  Should you give out your info?   State by state listings are available through the FBI website and they maintain the national database that is searchable by the offender’s name.   Laws vary from location to location about what type of information is available over the internet regarding sex offenders.  For example in Arizona where I live only individuals with higher risk for repeat violations, level 2 and 3 risks, are listed.  This site, a free and no info required from searcher other than zip code , says that it searches all state files in one search, but I do not know if this is accurate.   Blackbook online also has a large number of all sorts of public records that you can search for free.  It is organized by jurisdiction, or location.  Crooks use it I am sure, you might as well find out all the info that is out there about you.
  • Are your windows alarmed, accessible from the exterior of the home?
  • Can you hear distressed sounds from a child’s room throughout the house?
  • What kind of unsupervised time is there in your family?
  • Do you know the names of all the people who have entered your home?

I have spent a large portion of today on the web trying to find out about  the state of safety and protection of children in Arizona.

While this may have nothing to do with Isabel, I cannot help but wonder whether a state that actively strikes down protections for women and children, such as Arizona, can ever be a safe place to raise a family.  When I looked at results from a search on child trafficking in Arizona I mainly found links to a so-called crisis pregnancy center.  I couldn’t trust anything associated with those listings.  Even physicians, as of last week or so, can lie to a female patient if it involves the fetus in the woman.

We have to do something!  I know I’m jumping all over the place here.  I can’t concentrate and I want to do something.  Prayer and information doesn’t seem like enough.





  1. says

    I couldn’t agree more as far as the child abduction situation. I never really lived in fear for my children, though in hindsight, we took a lot of chances. Our kids were out there many times with alone for blocks walking to and from someplace. My grand children do not have that luxury. This world is NOT a safe place for kids to explore and play with other kids without parental supervision. I find that very sad and I feel very helpless, as well.
    I share your frustration and your sadness.

    • Nancy says

      As mothers and grandmothers our hearts hurt, minds race, and fists clench in anger. But all we can really do is love those who are with us every moment we can. I think you do understand why I feel have to write and yet do not want to write about this.

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