A roughly five-hour search encompassing Gloucester’s Good Harbor Beach, Rockport’s Long Beach and the adjacent salt marshes today turned up a few remains of seals, birds and other wildlife.
But searchers founds no new evidence relating to the disappearance of 2 1/2-year-old Caleigh Harrison — five days after a pair of shredded pants that may have been worn by Caleigh washed ashore last week.
Caleigh’s parents, an estimated 30 volunteers and a corps of 6-8 trained search dogs, including the K9 unit of the Gloucester Police Department, all spent time combing portions of Cape Hedge Beach and Pebble Beach as well in the quest to find any new traces of the Gloucester toddler who disappeared from Long Beach April 19.
Anthony Harrison and Allison Hammond, both Gloucester residents and the father and mother of Caleigh, were part of the search group at the scene, which also includes Rockport Police officer Daniel Mahoney and, among others, the Gloucester police dog Trident and GPD handler Jerome Ciolino. The search was coordinated in part by the Boston-based nonprofit and outreach group Mission for the Missing.
The search came five days after a tattered pair of pink capri pants, similar to those worn by Caleigh on the day of her disappearance, were found last Friday by a man walking along the northern portion of Good Harbor Beach. The pants had apparently washed onto the beach, tangled in lobstering gear, after a nor’easter had pounded Cape Ann’s shoreline last week.
Rockport Police Chief John “Tom” McCarthy has said the pants were seen as “very, very similar” to those that the Gloucester toddler was wearing at the time, though Hammond, who has viewed the evidence, has been unable to say “with certainty” whether the pants were her daughter’s, McCarthy has said. Police are sending the pants to a lab for DNA analysis.
Both Hammond and Anthony Harrison indicated they see the discovery of the pants as a hope for potential closure — and said they are now “accepting” that the discovery shows that Caleigh may have been lost into the sea. At different times, the parents and other family members had suggested that Caleigh had been abducted, though police never found any eviudence of that.
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