Well, we asked for it. Isabel Celis' parents came out in front of the TV cameras to beg for the return of their missing 6-year-old. And now we know why Becky and Sergio Celis have been hiding behind closed doors.
They didn't want the attention. And after days of wondering where they were, the Celises' excuse makes perfect sense.
They need the media's attention to stay on the little girl who went missing from her bed in the middle of the night. She is all that matters right now ... not them. As Becky tearfully told the cameras:
We don't want the focus to be taken off Isabel by us standing in front of the cameras or by the media. We are here today to plea for the safe return of our baby girl Isabel.
Watching her stumble over the words, I understood what she meant. The minute the parents of a missing child are in the spotlight, they become the story. Look at Missouri baby Lisa Irwin. Her mom, Deborah Bradley, took to TV last fall, and all of a sudden we were debating her alcohol problems. Then there's the back and forth between Ayla Reynolds' feuding parents that's kept the Maine toddler's disappearance in the news but the focus on their custody battles.
As a mother, I couldn't understand how the Celises could stay silent for so long. But as a journalist, I get it. The story here is that a 6-year-old child hasn't been heard from since Friday night. The more time the media spends driving that home, the more outraged people will be. Hopefully they'll turn that outrage into something positive; like getting out there to look for Isabel.
But even as I understand why they tried to stay quiet, I'm glad the Celis family took the risk of shifting attention their way and came forward the way they did anyway. Seeing their grief, seeing their pain, humanizes this whole ordeal. It can be an incredible motivator to make people look around them and check the kids they are seeing to spot that little face they saw on the fliers. Hopefully Sergio and Becky Celis' risk pays off. Hopefully this little girl is found.
Take a listen to what these parents had to say:
How do you feel when you watch parents of a missing child speak out?