ROCKPORT – The continued search for 2-year old Caleigh Anne Harrison yielded negative results today after twenty-four Massachusetts State Police divers searched the waters off Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport for approximately six hours. At a press conference late this afternoon, Massachusetts State Police Spokesperson Trooper David Procopio discussed the ongoing efforts to locate the Gloucester toddler.
Using side-scan sonar and a helicopter from the department’s Air Wing, the ongoing search is attempting to identify any evidence connected to the disappearance. K-9 units also conducted additional ground searches, while state troopers, Rockport officers, and Rockport firefighters patrolled beaches.
Through out the investigation, divers have free-dove around rocky peninsulas and outcroppings, submerged rocks, and Milk Island which is located about a mile off-shore. They were also towed along the ocean floor, attached to the back of police boats, to look for the missing girl.
Commercial fishermen and the harbormaster have also been consulted in order to better gain an accurate understanding of the currents and prevailing tides. Weighted buoys were placed in the current, and investigators followed the paths they’ve taken.
During the investigation, a police search dog in a Rockport Fire inflatable was also taken by the current, searching everywhere they came into contact with land. Last week, two search dogs explored Milk Island, searching the uninhabited rocky land.
Rockport Police & State Police detectives attached to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office have also investigated the possibility that Caleigh was abducted or in some other way subject to foul play, interviewing several witnesses in the vicinity of Caleigh and her family on the beach. The investigation yielded no evidence.
Caleigh, her nearly 4-year old sister, and their mother were playing with the family dog on Long Beach, next to Saratoga Creek, around midday last Thursday. At some point after retrieving a ball the girls had used, Caleigh’s mother observed that only the older girl was still there.
Divers will search off Long Beach with overflight support once again on Thursday. The dive operation will begin at approximately 7AM, departing from Granite Pier in Rockport.
Police will return to the water Friday only if new evidence or information obtained from tomorrow’s dive directs them to a particular area.