BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time since her daughter disappeared, the mother of a missing Gloucester girl is speaking out. Caleigh Harrison vanished April 19 while playing with her mother and sister on the beach.
Allison Hammond is convinced her daughter was kidnapped, now that the four-year-old sister Elizabeth is telling family members a mystery man snatched her while the mother went to retrieve a ball behind a seawall.
Hammond and Caleigh’s father, Anthony Harrison, went on CNN’s Nancy Grace show to talk about the kidnapping theory in an effort to circulate the little girl’s picture even further. Harrison provided a drawing from the sister and a description of the man she says she saw.
“At first it was a mean guy, then she got into detail about black shorts, smoking a cigarette, and he had facial hair,” said Harrison. Massachusetts State Police say there’s no evidence the girl was abducted, but they haven’t ruled out anything. “I wouldn’t put my daughter under this kind of scrutiny,” said Harrison. “It came from her heart and I believe her.”
Caleigh’s mother says she got the girls situated on the sand before she left for the ball, and tried to keep her eyes on the girls as she did so. “I checked on them repeatedly. One last time something was not quite right. I put my hands on the railing and Lizzie had her arms outstretched saying ‘Caleigh’s gone’, and she didn’t say anything more.”
Believing the answer doesn’t lie in the ocean, the family has been circulating missing person fliers and clinging to hope this is a new lead. Searchers also briefly returned to Long Beach Thursday when a dog being walked on the beach showed interest in an area near the water line. “He was digging and digging. It was not normal behavior for that dog,” said a woman who did not want to be identified.
Nothing was found, but with the tide coming in, investigators will decide Friday whether to return and take a second look. For the family there are new reasons not to give up. “Instead of us sitting around, we feel there’s things we can do,” said Caleigh’s uncle David Harrison.
The family has also listed the help of a Boston-based organization Mission for the Missing which plans to send in its own experts with missing person cases, as a new set of eyes.
In a statement, Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said there’s no sign of an abduction:
“We thoroughly investigated the possibility that Caleigh was abducted. As we previously stated, we found no evidence to support the abduction theory. That does not mean that we can say with 100 percent certainty that foul play did not occur, but rather, only that we have found no evidence of it, including no evidence of a mysterious man on the beach. That said, we will of course continue to follow leads as they develop. Even the tiniest shred of information will be thoroughly followed up, and we urge the public to continue to contact Rockport Police at (978) 546-1212 with any information, however insignificant it may seem.
The thoughts of the Massachusetts State Police and the Rockport Police Department remain with Caleigh’s family, and we remain dedicated to finding answers about what happened to their dear little girl.
In regard to statements made by Caleigh’s sister, please note that I will not discuss the content of investigative interviews.”
State Police also released a new missing child poster of Caleigh with the statement.