Police are returning to Long Beach in Rockport Friday to conduct a new search in connection with missing 2-year-old Caleigh Harrison. Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said the search is focused on a specific area where a private citizen’s dog had a “strong reaction to some type of stimuli.”
Procopio said authorities responded to the area late Thursday, but the incoming tide prevented them from searching more extensively. They plan to resume the search around 3 pm. Although Caleigh’s father told HLN’s Nancy Grace that the girl’s 4-year-old sister claimed she saw a man take Caleigh from the beach on April 19, police say they have found no evidence suggesting an abduction.
HLNtv.com has the latest on the trial of Tammi Smith in connection with the December 2009 disappearance of baby Gabriel Johnson. Smith is facing charges of forgery and custodial interference for allegedly helping Gabriel’s mother, Elizabeth Johnson, falsify documents to set up an illegal adoption of the then-7-month-old boy.
Johnson’s trial is set for later this year, but prosecutors played a police interview in court Wednesday where she claimed Smith helped her arrange to give Gabriel away to an unidentified couple in a San Antonio park. The boy has never been found, and Johnson told his father at one point that she had killed him and thrown his body away in a diaper bag.
Bloomington, Indiana police say a detective is looking into any possible links between the disappearance of an Indiana University student last year and a suspect in the murders of three other women over the last decade. Lauren Spierer, 20, was reportedly last seen walking away from a friend’s apartment building around 4:30 am on June 3, 2011, drunk and barefoot. The male friends who were with her that night have told police they do not know what happened to her from there, but she never made it to her building just a few blocks away.
William Clyde Gibson of New Albany was arrested and charged with two murders last week, and police found the body of a third woman buried in his backyard, according to the Indianapolis Star. Capt. Joe Qualters of the Bloomington Police Dept. said in a news release that authorities are not aware of any connection to Spierer’s disappearance, but “we are certainly interested in anyone who comes to the attention of law enforcement for targeting women as victims.”
In a recent interview with the Journal News, Spierer’s parents begged for anyone with information about her to come forward. “We don’t know how else to say it. But we need your help and, whatever you need, whatever you want, we’ll do to get our daughter back,” father Robert Spierer said.
On May 3, 2002, 7-year-old Alexis Patterson disappeared. Her stepfather told police he dropped her off across the street from her school, but that was the last time anyone saw her. 10 years later, her mother told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she remains hopeful that the missing girl is still alive somewhere. “I never stop hurting,” Ayanna Patterson said. Police questioned Alexis’ mother and stepfather extensively, but neither of them was ever implicated in her disappearance.
Milwaukee Police Dept. Lt. Keith Balash told reporters Wednesday that 5,000 interviews have been conducted in connection with the case and thousands of criminal records have been reviewed. The cold case unit has interviewed and re-interviewed 65 people since taking over the investigation in 2009. “This case is still actively being investigated,” Balash said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Milwaukee Police Cold Case hotline at 414-935-1212.
The mother of a Wisconsin woman missing for over a year is holding a rummage sale Saturday to call attention to the case and raise money for the reward fund. 22-year-old Stephanie Low was reported missing on October 10, 2010 after a phone call with a friend ended abruptly. When friends went to her Wausau apartment to check on her, she was gone, and police said they had reason to believe she was taken against her will.
Low’s mother has organized “Rummage-O-Rama For Stephanie” in Kennedy Park in Weston, Wisconsin Saturday. Police told the Wausau Daily Herald that they still consider the case active and the reward fund, currently around $10,000, has helped bring in tips.
“BABY KATE” PHILLIPS
Sean Phillips has been convicted of unlawful imprisonment in the disappearance of his 4-month-old daughter Katherine, a charge that could carry a maximum 15-year prison sentence, according to the Muskegon Chronicle. Baby Kate’s mother, Ariel Courtland, reported her missing on June 29, 2011, telling police that Phillips drove off with the girl in his car after the two argued over a paternity test that was scheduled for that day. Phillips reportedly wanted to put Kate up for adoption, a plan that Courtland had considered going along with but ultimately decided against.
The jury foreman told the Ludington Daily News that they focused on several pieces of evidence during deliberations, including the fact that Kate’s clothes were in Phillips’ pocket when he was arrested and a timeline that showed police could account for Courtland’s whereabouts all afternoon on June 29 but not for Phillips. Jurors were also influenced by a note found in Phillips’ shirt pocket in jail where he had apparently written “I gave her to a guy” that they considered “a confession.”
Prosecutor Paul Spaniola told the Muskegon Chronicle that the case will remain an open investigation until Kate is found.
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