Cal Harris' children break silence, ask for help to find answers

By Kelly McCarthy

March 5, 2014 Updated Mar 7, 2014 at 6:16 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The four children of Cal and Michele Harris spoke publicly for the first time since their mother's disappearance in Tioga County in 2001.

The family and Cal Harris' new defense team set up a confidential tip line seeking information, that number is (607) 215-5166.

Michele Harris' four children were between two and seven years old when they last saw their mother. Now, more than a decade later, they're searching for answers.

"We need to know what really happened to our mother," said 18-year-old Cayla Harris. "We know our dad had nothing to do with her disappearance, we also know there are people out there with information that can help us get answers."

The Harris children are asking people to call a confidential tip line if they have any information about their mother.

"Up until now I have tried to shield my children from the public's eye and the fire storm of media coverage that has surrounded this case," said Cal Harris, of Spencer, “however they have reached the age where they understand what's going on and want answers for themselves."

The Harris family hopes the tip line brings new information about Michele's disappearance. Since the number was given to the media, there have been seven confidential calls made to the tip line.

"We're trying to get a broader perspective here and take a look at other leads that exist," said Attorney Bruce Barket of Barket, Marion, Epstein & Kearon LLP, "some of which the police know about, some of which we know about, the police haven't heard about yet."

Cal Harris hired a new defense team in January 2013 and a team of investigators who have cold case experience. The tip line is part of their investigation.

"He literally said to me, "Bruce, I want you to solve this, I want you to find out what happened to my wife," Barket said.

The family's cry for help comes 13 years after Michele's disappearance, but just months before Cal's third murder trial.

"I did not have any involvement in Michele's disappearance," Cal Harris said. "I would never hurt the mother of my children and I would never do anything to hurt them."

The family made the announcement at the Owego Treadway Inn Wednesday afternoon but would not take any follow up questions.

"We want to keep our family together and not lose our father again," Cayla Harris said, "We plead to those of you who can help us, to please come forward with information."

Cal Harris was arrested for the murder of Michele in 2005 and has since had two convictions thrown out on appeal.

His third trial will be in Schoharie County in September.

The trial was moved after a state appeals court granted the venue change.

Michele's body has never been found.