Pants similar to those of missing toddler's found
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (WHDH) -- The Massachusetts State Police and Rockport Police said a pair of child’s pants found on a Gloucester beach Friday is consistent with those worn by 2-year-old Caleigh Harrison when she disappeared from a Rockport beach last April.
The tattered pink Capri pants were found entwined in ocean debris on the northern end of Good Harbor beach in Gloucester late last week.
“It’s a bitter-sweet moment, yeah, you’re kind of like happy that something’s happening because it has been stagnant so long,” said Caleigh’s uncle, David Harrison.
The debris appeared to have washed up onto the beach during a recent storm. Police said the pants were found by a local doctor who was walking along Good Harbor beach about one mile from where the toddler disappeared.
“It’s overwhelming. You almost wish there were more developments instead of just pants. I mean, it’s confusing,” said a relative, Gerald Boutte.
The 2-year-old disappeared back in April when her mother left her and her 4-year-old sister alone on the beach for two minutes to retrieve a beach ball. When she came back, the toddler was gone.
Police found no evidence of foul play after several days of intense searching and concluded she was most likely swept out to sea.
Members of the Mission for the Missing said it’s an important development.
“The pants match the description of the pants the child was allegedly wearing the day she went missing, so I think most of the Harrisons certainly feel that this is going to be confirmation,” said Maureen Flatley, Mission for the Missing. “I think it certainly holds true to the theory of the case which has been pretty unanimous that the child went in the water. There’s really no evidence of abduction.
Police showed Caleigh’s parents the pink pants but they could not positively identify them.
“I think it’s a horrible mixture of relief and sadness. I think any parent would want to bury their child -- would want to recover their child even though they know their child is gone. I think in this case [Caleigh’s father] is relieved on one hand to have some indication that there’s some information on what might have happened to her. But obviously such sadness,” said Flatley.
Police said they have sent the pants for DNA testing. Family and friends said there will be search and rescue teams on Good Harbor on Wednesday afternoon.
“It would be nice to have that final closure so we could say listen, now we know what happened. Honor her that way,” said Harrison.