Anthony Harrison, the father of missing Gloucester 2 1/2-year-old Caleigh Harrison, told a crowd of reporters during an emotional news conference this afternoon that the family had finally, officially accepted what state and local authorities had long since concluded: that Caleigh had been swept out to sea when she disappeared from Rockport's Long Beach April 19..
While his mother and Caleigh's grandmother, Antonette Harrison, wept openly, Anthony Harrison -- who, in May, had announced to a crowd of hundreds that he would "Never, never give up looking for" his daughter -- conceded today that the "probability of her being abducted was very, very slim."
The abduction theory, first reportedly voiced by Caleigh's 4-year-old sister Lizzie, who had been with Caleigh when she disappeared, had gained national media attention when Anthony and Caleigh's mother, Allison Hammond, had talked of Lizzie's comments some two weeks after the disappearance.
Hammond, was missing from today's press conference, and could not immediately be reached for comment. She has been widely criticized for losing her daughter while off fetching a tennis ball.
For much more on this story, look to tomorrow's print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.