Authorities plead for help in the Celina Cass case
Concord, New Hampshire - August 18, 2011
Surrounded by the colonel of the New Hampshire State Police and FBI agents, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young addressed the media for the first time in nearly two weeks regarding the suspicious death of 11-year-old Celina Cass.
"At this point no arrests have been made," Young said.
The young girl's body was found in the Connecticut River about a quarter of a mile from her home in West Stewartstown two weeks ago. Prosecutors expect to have the toxicology report back next week to determine how the young girl died.
"We are waiting to see if there was anything in Celina's system at the time of her death. That isn't the end all, but it is a piece to this puzzle," Young said.
A lot of the investigation has focused on where the body was found and the home where Celina Cass lived. On two different occasions police spent days searching it. Two vehicles were also towed from the property. A number of items have been sent to forensic labs across the country. Results won't be known for weeks, even months.
"I'm not going to go into detail to whom we have spoken to, we have spoken to a number of witnesses, we are exploring a number of forensic avenues in this case," Young said.
"Sometimes you have to run down various leads, and sometimes that's more difficult than others," said Bob Simpson, a professor of criminal justice at Champlain College and a former prosecutor.
Simpson says investigations like this one can be lengthy and tricky for prosecutors, especially with the national media coverage.
"Eventually you are going to have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and if you have missteps along the way, and that is disclosed to the nation, that is a tremendous problem to the investigation," Simpson said.
"This investigation will remain active and ongoing, anyone that was involved in Celina's disappearance and death will be brought to justice," Young said.
Young also said they would like to hear from anybody that may have seen anything suspicious July 25, the last day Celina Cass was seen, or the days immediately after. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and prosecution. A private citizen in the community is also offering a $5,000.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333.
A reward fund has also been established. Anyone who wishes to help can donate to the specially established account at the Northway Bank, in Gorham, N.H. attention Susan Small. The telephone number is 603-466-5467.
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