Caleigh's family holds out hope as water search ends
ROCKPORT, Mass. (WHDH) -- State police divers ended their search for 2-year-old Caleigh Harrison a week after she went missing, but Caleigh’s father spoke Thursday saying he has a feeling she was never even in the water.
State police said they believe Caleigh fell into the water in Long Beach, calling it a tragic accident. But Caleigh’s father says he has a gut feeling that his daughter never went into the water -- that she was abducted.
“In my heart I feel like she’s still alive, that she’s out there,” said Anthony Harrison, Caleigh’s father. “I’m not going to stop looking until we find her.”
Caleigh was reported missing around noon last Thursday. Her mother told investigators she turned away from Caleigh and her 4-year-old sister for a couple of minutes to retrieve a ball, and Caleigh was gone when she returned.
“She was just so special,” said Harrison. “Her smile lit up the room. She’s just a good, good little girl. We miss her dearly and we want her back.”
State police divers scoured the Atlantic Ocean using side-scan sonar and a helicopter one last time, but nothing turned up, leaving them frustrated.
“All we every wanted was to bring Caleigh home. The fact that we’ve not been able to do that despite our best efforts has left us saddened,” said Mass. State Police spokesperson, David Procopio.
Caleigh was on the beach with her mother and sister between the footbridge and the water, according to police. It was low tide at the time. Caleigh’s mother left the beach, walked up the stairs and down the boardwalk to retrieve a beach ball. Caleigh’s mother said it took all of two minutes, but when she looked back towards the beach she realized Caleigh was missing.
Although investigators maintain there was no evidence of foul play, Caleigh’s father says because there has been nothing for a week he can’t help but sense she may have been taken.
“I have a gut feeling she’s not in the water, but I don’t know if that’s my heart because I love her so much, that she’s still alive,” said Harrison.
Thursday was the final day searching the water for Caleigh. Rockport police will continue investigating on land. State police said they will immediately put divers back into the water if there is any new evidence.