Celina CassCelina Cass

Celina Cass was 11 when she was last seen on the night of July 25, 2011 at her home computer. Celina lived in West Stewartstown, N.H., with her sister, mother and step father. Celina can be seen in pictures wearing a basketball uniform. It was said that playing dress up was one of her favorite things to do. She is described as, very sweet, outgoing, lovable, generous, and trusting. An all around great girl. She was loved by all who knew her. Celina’s body was recovered from the Connecticut River on August 1, 2011.An autopsy was preformed. Celina’s death has been ruled a homicide but the results will not be released due to fear of it negatively impacting the investigation.

 

Myfoxmaine.com
Investigators have confirmed Celina Cass' death is a homicide, but won't say how she died.

The 11-year-old's mother and sister met with investigators for two hours in Northern New  Hampshire on Thursday. Investigators confirm someone killed the child, based on further investigation and toxicology results. Until the findings, her death was only considered suspicious.

Cass was last seen at her New Hampshire home in late July.  After a week of searching, investigators found her body in the Connecticut River.

Investigators worry that saying how she died will negatively impact the investigation.  No one is in custody for the child's death, and there is a reward for information leading to an arrest.

 

By CHRISTINA CARON (@cdcaron) and EMILY FRIEDMAN (@EmilyABC)
Aug. 2, 2011
The community of West Stewartstown, N.H., mourning the death of 11-year-old Celina Cass, is still waiting to find out how the fifth grader died.

New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young announced tonight that medical examiners had completed an autopsy on Celina's remains, but more information is needed.

"The death certificate indicates the cause and manner of death are pending toxicology reports and further investigation," Young said at a brief news conference this evening.

Despite these findings, Young said, the Attorney General's office continues to investigate the death as suspicious based on "a visual observation of Miss Cass' body both in and out of water."

Celina's remains were discovered Monday morning in the Connecticut River, not far from her hometown. Several hours later, around 5 p.m., her body was pulled from the water, Young said.

Officers set up a tent this evening near the hydroelectric dam where divers found Celina's body and set up orange markers in the grass leading to a railroad trestle, The Associated Press reported.

"We're continuing to look for any evidence that may be there," Young said, adding that investigators are still interviewing witnesses.

When asked if West Stewartstown is in any danger, Young said, "We remind the public to remain vigilant at this point in the investigation."

Despite the town's heartbreak over Celina's death, West Stewartstown will hold its annual children's festival, called Stewartstown Days, in honor of Celina.

 Charles Krupa/AP Photo
Family friends hold up missing posters for... View Full Size

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Family friends hold up missing posters for Celina Cass for passing cars to view outside the family residence, in Stewartstown, N.H., July 28, 2011. Wall Street Closes Up 61 Points; Obama Signs FAA Compromise Bill Watch Video
What Happened to Celina Cass? Watch Video
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"We're hoping this is going to be the first step in our healing process," a festival committee member told ABCNews.com.

The committee met this evening to continue planning the festival, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Celina, was last seen Monday evening, July 25, at a computer in the home where she lives with her mother, stepfather and 13-year-old sister.

"Right now the family is in mourning. Everybody's shook up real bad right now," Celina's grandfather, Walter Laro, told the AP.

Speaking with the media Monday, Cass' father Adam Laro said his daughter was a kind young girl.

"Very sweet, very outgoing, very generous to people. Lovable, trusting, you name it," Laro said.

Celina Cass' Stepfather Wendell Noyes: Past Arrests, Strange Behavior

Court documents obtained by ABC News reveal that Celina's stepfather, Wendell Noyes, has a troubled past.

Noyes, 47, was taken by ambulance to a hospital Monday after behaving bizarrely. ABC affiliate WMUR-TV reported today that he is out of the hospital.

In 2003, the stepfather was involuntarily committed to a hospital because of schizophrenia and arrested for threatening an ex-girlfriend, according to court documents.

Noyes was charged with violating a protective order held by his ex-girlfriend and for criminal trespassing, criminal threatening and hindering apprehension. The girlfriend, who lived with her two kids at the time, said Noyes broke into her home while she was sleeping, lifted her mattress and slammed it down and then threatened to throw her down the stairs.

While awaiting trial, a judge ruled Noyes incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to be involuntarily placed in a hospital. Judge Richard Hampe wrote that Noyes' mental illness creates "a potentially serious likelihood of danger to himself and others." A forensic examiner deemed Noyes a paranoid schizophrenic who likely developed his mental illness while in the Air Force, according to court documents.

So far nobody, including Noyes, has been named a suspect in Celina's disappearance and death.
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Aug. 2, 2011

Community Honors Celina Cass with Vigil
As police continue to investigate Celina's death, her community held a candlelight vigil Monday night in West Stewartstown. The crowd sang "Amazing Grace" and Celina's friends spoke about how much they would miss her. Celina's best friend collapsed in tears.

Everyone wrote messages on balloons to Celina -- "see you in heaven" -- and let them go. One purple balloon, Celina's favorite color, got stuck in a tree over the vigil.

 Steve Legge/AP Photo
A memorial for Celina Cass, Aug. 1, 2011, in... View Full Size

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A memorial for Celina Cass, Aug. 1, 2011, in Stewartstown, N.H. Wall Street Closes Up 61 Points; Obama Signs FAA Compromise Bill Watch Video
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Celina Cass' Body Found in New Hampshire Watch Video
Celina's family did not attend the vigil, but spoke to the media about the week-long search, and thanked all of those who searched for her.

"Fish and Game, Attorney General, FBI, they were all there when we needed them," Walter Laro, the young girl's grandfather said. "The news media was very good to us, very good to us and they really helped out as much as they could. All we're looking for now is answers."

Investigators received more than 500 tips before finding Celina's body about a quarter mile from her home in West Stewartstown, N.H., a hamlet of about 800 people.

By CHRISTINA CARON (@cdcaron)
Aug. 1, 2011
A heartbreaking search for Celina Cass ended today when her body was pulled out of the Connecticut River, not far from her New Hampshire home.

Her body was discovered about 10:30 a.m., but wasn't pulled from the water until about 5 p.m. Officials did not explain why it took so long to recover her remains.

"We have brought Celina home, but not the way we wanted to bring her home," New Hampshire senior assistant Attorney General Jane Young said with a slight quaver in her voice.

The body was pulled from the river about a quarter mile from the 11-year-old girl's home in West Stewartstown, a hamlet of only 800 people.

Young said the girl's disappearance has been reclassified as a criminal investigation.

"We continue to investigate this case," she said, talking to witnesses and checking vehicles that were seen in the area.

"We are looking at all facets of the investigation and that includes where she was last seen," Young said.

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Missing New Hampshire girl, Celina Cass, is... View Full Size

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Missing New Hampshire girl, Celina Cass, is seen in this undated family photo. Celina Cass' Body Found in New Hampshire Watch Video
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Father's Plea to Missing Celina: 'Come Home' Watch Video
Celina was last seen Monday evening, July 25, in her bedroom at her computer at the home where she lives with her mother, stepfather and 13-year-old sister.

Since then, more than 100 searchers including the FBI, police from several states and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have joined the effort.

Celina's body was recovered around 5 p.m. and her body has been transported to Concord, N.H. for an autopsy which is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

 

Authorities search West Stewartstown, N.H., Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. During the day, as the body was being recovered, crime scene tape went up around the Cass home and police were stationed outside. Relatives had gathered at the Cass home and could be seen crying.

Wendell Noyes, the stepfather of Celina Cass, was taken to the hospital.

The body was found on the New Hampshire side of the river, near the Canaan Hydro-Dam, according to ABC News' affiliate WMUR which reported crews were searching the area.

The FBI recently offered a $25,000 reward for any information as to Cass' whereabouts and an anonymous citizen offered a $5,000 reward.

The discovery came a day after Cass' father made an appeal to his daughter.

"Come home. Whenever you are ready to come home, daddy is ready for you," pleaded Celina's biological father, Adam Laro.

At one point, police said they intended to question each of the 800 people who live in tiny Stewartstown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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