ROCKPORT -- State Police returned to Long Beach this afternoon to search for Caleigh Anne Harrison, but found no sign of the toddler who disappeared from the beach last month while playing with her mother, older sister and family dog, officials said.
State Police checked an area near Saratoga Creek where a private citizen’s dog had started acting strangely Thursday.
Using two backhoes, they excavated the area and had specially trained dogs go over the hole as well as the sand removed from the hole during a search that lasted about a half-hour, said State Police spokesman David Procopio.
The 2-year-old Gloucester girl disappeared April 19. Her mother, looking for a ball thrown over a wall, turned her attention away for what authorities have said might have been as long as two minutes. When the mother returned, the child was missing.
State Police searched the water extensively in the days after the girl’s disappearance under the theory that the child was accidentally swept into the sea. Nothing was found.
While State Police have said there was no sign that Harrison was abducted, her father told a national television show earlier this week that the family believes the child was taken.
Anthony Harrison said Wednesday on the Nancy Grace show on HLN that Caleigh’s sister had told “a couple of different stories. She mentions a man. It’s a little bit scattered, of course. She is 4 years old. But she did, after a while, mention a man on the beach that took her sister.”
Procopio reiterated that State Police have found no evidence of foul play or an abduction.
Asked why the toddler had not been found in the water, he said, “It’s a big ocean. The fact that the water search has been negative should not necessarily lead one to conclude that something else happened.”