HALEIGH CUMMINGS – ENDANGERED MISSING February 10, 2009 – USMCC000281LTWH – UPDATED 12.19.2013

HALEIGH CUMMINGS

Lights For Haleigh Cummings Flier

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Haleigh Cummings Age Progressed to 8 Years Old

Haleigh Cummings Age Progressed to 8 Years Old

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Date of Birth: August 17, 2003

White Female

Height: 30”     Weight: 39 lbs

Hair: Blonde     Eyes: Brown

Missing: February 10, 2009     From: Satsuma, FL

Distinguishing Features: Pierced Ears.  Red highlights in her hair.  She has a round birthmark on the lower left side of her back, about 4-inches in size.  She also as brown birthmarks on her left cheek and right jaw line.  Haleigh as a lazy left eye, and chubby fingers and toes.

Medical Conditions: Haleigh has been diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, a genetic disorder which features may include: restricted growth of the long bones and ovaries, heart defects and vision problems, multiple birthmarks, and swollen fingers and toes.  Most people with Turner Syndrome don’t grow to be more than four and half feet tall.  Haleigh requires treatments and monthly visits to a cardiologist and an endocrinologist due to her condition.

MAY BE IN THE NEED OF MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

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Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings was last known to be sleeping in her family’s trailer in the 200 block of Green Lane in the area of Hermit’s Cove in Satsuma, Florida, late in the evening on February 9, 2009.  What happened to Haleigh after she was put to bed, still remains a mystery nearly 5 years later.

Misty Croslin, Haleigh’s father’s girlfriend, told authorities that she awoke at 3:00AM and found Haleigh missing.  When Haleigh’s father, Ronald Cummings, arrived home at 3:30AM, she placed the call to 911 to report Haleigh’s disappearance.

Misty Croslin Cummings

Misty Croslin Cummings

Despite being questioned numerous times, Misty has never explained why it took her nearly 30 minutes after discovering Haleigh missing for her to call the police.  When Misty finally placed the 911 call, she couldn’t explain the situation very well or give a detailed description of Haleigh.  The operator heard Ronald speaking loudly in the background and asked to speak with him.  When Ronald got on the line, he shouted “I just got home from work, my five-year old daughter is gone.  I need somebody to be here now.  If I find whoever has my daughter before y’all do, I’m killing them.  I don’t care.  I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison.”  The 911 call was then disconnected by someone at the Cummings residence.  When the operator called back to get more information, Ronald was again heard in the background mentioning killing whoever took his daughter.

Ronald Cummings

Ronald Cummings

He told Misty to hang up, and the phone went dead.  For some reason, in the two minutes that passed from when Ronald got home from work and the time when Misty placed the 911 call, he instantly believed that someone had taken his daughter, not even questioning if she was hiding or had wandered off.  I am not speaking towards whether I believe Ronald is guilty of anything or not, but as a parent, I don’t think it is likely that he would assume on his own so instantly that Haleigh had been kidnapped.  I know there was one afternoon when I couldn’t find my 4 year old, I ran from room to room in the house, frantically searching, it took about 10 minutes for me to find him fast asleep under his bed with hundreds of little army men set up around him ready for battle.  My heart nearly exploded in my chest and I began to sob, (overreaction much?!), I carefully pulled him out and tucked him into his bed to finish his nap.  In the time it took to find him, my only thought was that he had wandered off, it didn’t even cross my mind that someone had taken him.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

I just don’t think it is a natural reaction to assume kidnapping instantly when a child isn’t where they should be in their home, unless someone has said something to that effect.  In a crowded mall, yes, kidnapping is quickly feared, but when a child is home with their family, wandering off is so much more likely, that I really just can’t believe Ronald decided it was a kidnapping on his own so quickly.  Regardless, it took deputies 13 minutes to reach the Cummings home after Misty initially called 911.  When they arrived the found a visibly distraught Ronald waiting for them in the driveway.

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings

He told the deputies that he just got home from work and his “dumb bitch girlfriend” told him his daughter was missing.  According to the police report, Ronald repeatedly said that someone had taken Haleigh and he was going to kill him when he found him.  Ronald told the officers that he had a Beretta 9mm pistol in his trailer, and he warned them that if they arrested Haleigh’s abductor, he would shoot the person through the back window of the police cruiser.  Ronald was so worked up that he was unable to even give police any useful information to help them find Haleigh.

Ronald Cummings, Crystal Sheffield and Family

Ronald Cummings, Crystal Sheffield and Family

Let’s take a little time out – I’m going to over-estimate a little here and say that it took officers 3 minutes before they realized Ronald wasn’t going to be able to help them – so that brings us to 16 minutes.  16 MINUTES from the time Ronald got home to the time police began looking to Misty for information.  Let’s assume that when Ronald arrived home, events happened just as Misty claimed.  He walked in the door and was told his daughter was missing.  Within 2 minutes then he went through the emotions of shock, disbelief, concern, fear, panic and then straight to murderous rage.  Let’s face it folks, Ronald was told something different than Haleigh was just missing.  Do I think he is responsible for what happened to Haleigh, no.

Haleigh and Ronald Cummings

Haleigh and Ronald Cummings

Do I think he knows more than he has said, and Misty knows exactly what happened – hell yes.  Go ahead and time yourself for 16 minutes (they way I rant on, it should take an average reader about 15 minutes to read this article from start to finish).  Goes by pretty fast right?  Now imagine going through the roller coaster of emotions Ronald would have had to gone through in 16 minutes if he truly came home to Misty simply saying, “I don’t know where Haleigh is, I just noticed she was missing.”  It definitely raises a lot more questions.  OK, let’s get back to police turning to Misty for details…

Misty Croslin Cummings

Misty Croslin Cummings

The initial story Misty gave police was that she put Haeligh and Ronald Jr. to bed at 8:00PM, and then went to bed at about 10:30PM, sleeping in the same bed as both children.  She claims that she awoke at 3:00AM to get a glass of water.  It was then that she said she noticed Haleigh was missing, but Ronald Jr. was still asleep.  According to Misty, Ronald Sr. arrived home 5 minutes later and insisted she call 911.

Ronald Sr. and Jr. Cummings

Ronald Sr. and Jr. Cummings

Police searched the neighbourhood for Haleigh but found no trace of the little girl.  What they did find during their search, however, has become a highly questionable and much debated use of the back door.  When authorities did their search, they found that the back door was propped open with a cinderblock.  The door showed absolutely no signs of being forced open.  With this discovery came the many different claims about how that door may have been opened.  First Misty stated that the back door is always locked, and claimed that they never really used the back door.  Next Ronald stated that he checked the door every afternoon before he left for work, saying it was ALWAYS locked.  Misty then claimed that she and Ronald used the back door to take out the garbage and opened the back door when they were vacuuming out their vehicles.  They both insist that the back door was locked that night, and Misty claimed that someone must have picked the lock, that the only way anyone could have gotten in the back door was to pick the lock.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

As the early morning hours passed, and Misty and Ronald were questioned, Misty’s story began to change, and even more suspiciously, she had trouble describing the exact circumstances surrounding Haleigh’s disappearance.  This is where I completely lose any trust in what Misty claims.  First of all, I have a terrible memory, I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday if I tried.  Second of all, I sleep like a rock, and if I do get up in the middle of the night, I can successfully manage getting a drink or using the washroom without opening my eyes.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

With all of that being said, if I wake up in the middle of the night and anything is out of place, and I mean ANYTHING, I can snap to in instant.  Last night for example, I woke up to grab some water, and when I got out of bed, I quickly realized I didn’t have to move my sleeping dog out of the way, instantly I was wide awake trying to find my 15 pound Min Pin under my quilt in a king size bed.  I found him after about 15 seconds in a nest of pillows he had arranged for himself and got the dirtiest look from him for daring to wake him.  Sounds silly, it’s a small stupid thing, but I can tell you it was 3:11 in the morning, it was drizzling rain outside, I stepped on my dog’s rubber frog toy and gave myself a heart attack, grabbed a bottle of water and climbed back into bed to find that my punishment for waking the dog up, was that he had claimed my pillows to be his for the rest of the night.

Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Cummings

Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Cummings

I just can’t see how Misty cannot remember the exact details of everything that happened in less than a 5 hour period.  Initially Misty told detectives that the last time she saw Haleigh, she was sleeping in bed beside her, but she then later claimed Haleigh had been sleeping in a small bed near her in the same room.  In a TV interview when asked how far away from her Haleigh was, she stated 3 to 4 inches, when Ronald suddenly cut in and corrected her saying Haleigh was 3 to 4 feet away from Misty.  Misty claims she cannot remember exactly what it was that got her out of bed when she discovered Haleigh was missing, nor could she remember exactly what the little girl was wearing when she put her to bed.  It was these types of details that continued to change each time Misty was interviewed and frustrated authorities who were trying to figure out exactly what happened to Haleigh.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Police repeatedly questioned Misty about Haleigh’s disappearance and looked into the possibility that she wasn’t in fact home when the child disappeared.  Misty describes herself as a devoted caregiver to Haleigh and her brother, and she said she had been home the entire night and had not left the children alone.  Investigators have been publically sceptical of Misty’s story, saying she failed four polygraphs and one voice stress test, and changed her story multiple times; they described her accounts as “consistently inconsistent”.

Ronald Cummings

Ronald Cummings

When morning broke the day Haleigh disappeared, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office organized a massive ground, air and water search conducted by law enforcement.  As the word spread amongst the community, hundreds of volunteers joined in the effort.  The extensive search of the area turned up no signs of Haleigh, however, what it did turn up, was some controversial supporters, and some even more controversial unsolicited help.  George and Cindy Anthony who lived not too far by reached out to Ronald Cummings offering their assistance in the search for Haleigh.  Ronald quickly declined their offer and actually released a statement to the press making it very clear that they in no way, shape or form wanted to be affiliated with the Anthonys.

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings

In another strange development, Ronald Cummings did accept help from Josh Duckett, Trenton Duckett’s father.  At one point the Cummings allowed Josh to act as the family spokesman, but the connection between the two men did not last.

You can read Trenton’s story at this link: https://lightingtheirwayhome.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/trenton-duckett-missing-august-27-2006/

Leonard Padilla

Leonard Padilla

The Anthonys and Ducketts were not the only attention grabbers that pushed their way into the spotlight, bounty hunters and private investigators Leonard Padilla and William “Cobra” Staubs, who were involved in the Anthony case, attempted to immerse themselves in the investigation of Haleigh’s disappearance.  Staubs claims that his investigation proved that Misty was not home the night that Haleigh disappeared, but was instead seeing someone behind Ronald’s back.

Misty Croslin Cummings and Greg 'White Boy' Page

Misty Croslin Cummings and Greg ‘White Boy’ Page

Now remember that at the time of Haleigh’s disappearance, she and Ronald had only been dating a few months.  Later, it was proved that the weekend before Haleigh went missing, Misty had in fact had a drug-fueled weekend with Greg “White Boy” Page.  The two admitted to using drugs and having sex that weekend, but both deny being together on the day that Haleigh disappeared.  Despite this development, Staubs remained a rogue crusader in attempting to gain publicity and fame.

William 'Cobra' Staubs

William ‘Cobra’ Staubs

His over the top antics came to a head when he drove to the home of accused child molester, Daniel Everett Snodgrass, 55.  According to the Sheriff’s Office, Snodgrass was out of jail on bond after being charged with the sexual molestation of a child under 12.  Staubs used a loud speaker to call Snodgrass out of his home, when Snodgrass came out, Staubs handcuffed him and stuffed him into his car claiming he was revoking the accused child molesters bond.  Problem is, this was something that Staubs had absolutely NO authority to do, and subsequently (and rightfully so in my opinion), officials arrested Staubs for false imprisonment.  While interviewing sex offenders in the area where a child disappears is common protocol (And there were 44 convicted sex offenders living within a five mile radius of the Cummings home), this is only done by the proper authorities, and only targets CONVICTED sex offenders.  What Staubs did was illegal, irresponsible and took attention away from missing Haleigh.  Staubs is clearly a man with nothing but selfish motives and a flair for the dramatic, and has NO place in the investigation of a missing child.

Hank 'Tommy' Croslin

Hank ‘Tommy’ Croslin

As time passed and no indication as to what happened to Haleigh arose, Misty and her older brother, Hank Thomas “Tommy” Croslin Jr., accused Joseph “Joe” Overstreet of kidnapping Haleigh.  Overstreet, who was from Tennessee, was in Florida when the child disappeared.  He visited the Cummings home on February 9 and left only hours before Haleigh vanished.  The next day he returned to Tennessee.  Misty stated Overstreet had sexually abused her when she was a child and had been involved in criminal activity his whole life, although he is not registered as a sex offender.  Tommy accused him first, stating OverStreet planned to steal a machine gun from the Cummings residence and, when he couldn’t find it, he threatened Misty with a knife and took Haleigh.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Joseph Overstreet

Joseph Overstreet

Overstreet and Tommy drove to the St. John’s River, five miles from Haleigh’s home, and Overstreet threw the child in the water.  Misty later affirmed this statement, saying she had lied earlier because she was afraid of her cousin.  While making these claims, Misty was yet again unable to provide specific details that investigators know she should have known had the accusation been true.

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings and Crystal Sheffield

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings and Crystal Sheffield

Misty could not even say whether Haleigh was dead or alive when she was allegedly thrown in the river.  Overstreet denies any involvement in Haleigh’s disappearance and hasn’t been charged in connection with it or even be named as a suspect, although he has been interviewed.  Authorities searched the river in April 2010 and brought Misty to the dock, but the search yielded nothing of interest.

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Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings

Haleigh and Ronald Jr. Cummings

Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Cummings' Wedding

Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Cummings’ Wedding

Another contentious act that has raised many questions, is why Ronald and Misty decided to get married only a month after Haleigh’s disappearance.  There are many theories flying around out there as to what prompted the ill timed wedding, but the fact remains that there are still no clear answers, and in all truth, there may never be a clear answer given.  Ronald and Misty got married in March, a month after Haleigh’s disappearance.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Ronald stated he thought Haleigh would have wanted it.  With Misty only being 17, her and Ronald received permission from her parents and the marriage was official.  In October 2009, six months into the marriage, Ronald filed for divorce.  He cited irreconcilable differences as the reason, mainly the stress caused by Haleigh’s disappearance and the subsequent police investigation and media attention.  The divorce became final within days; Ronald and Misty had only been married a short time and they didn’t share any property or have any children together, there was little to discuss.

~

Crystal Sheffield

Crystal Sheffield

Haleigh’s biological mother, Crystal Sheffield, had visitation with Haleigh every other weekend.  Ronald had gained custody of the children after Sheffield admitted to using cocaine, which had then caused Haleigh to miss several doctor’s appointments while in her care.  Sheffield alleged Ronald was violent.  She once sought a protective order against him, but the case was dismissed.  Ronald was given full custody of both children in December 2005.  He had minor brushes with the law, mainly drug arrests, prior to Haleigh’s disappearance, but in most cases the charges were dropped or he got deferred adjudication.  Both Sheffield and Ronald retained attorneys after Haleigh’s disappearance.  Through her attorney, Sheffield accused Ronald of child abuse and neglect, allegations the Florida Department of Children and Families are investigating.  Both sides’ attorneys have since withdrawn their representation.  Police also questioned Sheffield’s fiancée as well as other family members, friends of the family and neighbours.  Crystal is not suspected to be involved in Haleigh’s disappearance.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Cummings

Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin Cummings

As the next couple of years passed, with no sign of Haleigh, Misty and Ronald were again thrown into the spotlight, however, this time it was for their charges and later convictions for drug trafficking.  Misty was convicted on counts of dealing in prescription narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, in recorded transactions with an undercover detective working with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.  All 5 parties charged, Misty Croslin, Ronald Cummings, Tommy Croslin, Hope Sykes and Donna Brock, were at one time or another, captured on hidden cameras during 7 different drug deals.

It all started when a search firm, well known Texas EquuSearch, paid Donna Brock $3,000.00 to get close to Misty in hopes of coaxing a confession from her.

Donna Brock

Donna Brock

Brock had convinced the organization that this was a viable approach to obtaining the truth about what happened to Haleigh.  Instead, Brock began dealing prescription medication alongside Misty.  Misty and Brock were both investigated in a road rage incident where they were accused of yelling at another driver and waving a gun at her.  When police stopped the vehicle Misty and Brock were in, they found no evidence of a gun, but the damage was done as the truth about Brock’s character began to come out.  Following the incident, Tim Miller, the company’s found and director, issued Brock a letter terminating her membership in Texas EquuSearch.

Hope Sykes

Hope Sykes

Misty Croslin Cummings

Misty Croslin Cummings

Everyone in the drug cases pled guilty to the charges against them.  Misty played the poor me, I didn’t know what I was doing card right up until her sentencing.  Minimum mandatory sentences in the 7 drug cases against Misty, had her looking at 89 years in prison.  Circuit Judge Terry LaRue ordered Misty’s sentences to run concurrently under the longest minimum sentence of 25 years.

Misty Croslin Cummings

Misty Croslin Cummings

Additionally, Misty owes nearly $2 million in fines and 5 years of drug offender probation when she is released.  The four other people were also charged with drug related charges in the case, including Ronald Cummings, Misty’s brother, Hank “Tommy” Croslin Jr., Ronald’s cousin, Hope Sykes and Donna Brock.  Each of the four were sentenced to 15 years in prison after their convictions.

Ronald Cummings

Ronald Cummings

At one point rumors surfaced that Ronald Cummings had been released from prison after only serving 2 years of his 15 year sentence.  This is completely incorrect.  Ronald remains in custody, however he was transferred to the Brevard County, Florida, county jail.  The reason for the transfer is not clear, and speculations have included the possibility that Ronald may have witnessed or overheard something behind bars, and has turned into a prison snitch, resulting in him being moved so that he can testify against another inmate, in an attempt to get time shaved off his sentence.  None of the speculations have been confirmed, and regardless of where Ronald is serving his time, he is still serving a 15 year sentence.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

At the time of Haleigh’s disappearance she was a kindergarten student at Browning Pearce Elementary School in San Mateo, Florida, was a lover of mac and cheese, and enjoyed playing makeup.  Her case remains unsolved and is classified as a homicide.

On a personal note, I have spent many hours sorting through the facts of this case, scouring news articles and pouring through photos.  It took no more than 5 minutes in the very beginning for me to realize that I can’t find a picture where this beautiful little girl wasn’t smiling.  The joy, excitement and love of life that fills Haleigh, is very easy to see.

~

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

It has now been nearly 5 years since Haleigh Cummings went missing, and investigators are no closer to knowing what happened to the beautiful little girl than they were on the day she went missing.  Speculations fly and theories are tested, but at the end of the day, there is just no concrete evidence to launch the investigation in a specific direction.  Haleigh’s case remains open and active, but with so little to go on, law enforcement’s hands are really tied.

Haleigh and Ronald Cummings

Haleigh and Ronald Cummings

The drama that has surrounded Haleigh’s father, Ronald Cummings, and his ex-wife, Misty Croslin, with their convictions on numerous drug charges doesn’t help in the investigation into Haleigh’s disappearance either.  County Sheriff Jeff Hardy had hoped that some of those who know what happened to Haleigh that night would be more willing to come forward and speak out now that they have found themselves in new situations … such as being incarcerated … but that has yet to happen.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Despite the time that has passed, Haleigh’s family still holds onto the hope that she will return home one day, and when that day comes, they will be ready.  Haleigh’s great-grandmother, Annette Sykes, still has a room in her house for Haleigh, filled with Christmas presents from each Christmas that she has missed.  Sykes pain is still raw and her frustration with the lack of progress in the case is something she struggles with each and every day.  “I just want to rip somebody’s head off to tell me something, but there’s nothing I can do, legally.”  Sykes does the best she can with what she has, Haleigh’s toys, presents and figurines remain in their place waiting for Haleigh.  A banner of Haleigh still hangs on Sykes’ fence, in hopes that years later, no one forgets Haleigh.

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

I would like to ensure the family that forgetting Haleigh is impossible to do.  Even for those who had never met the little girl in person, her personality, vitality, joy and sheer excitement about everything around her is so very visible in photos of the little girl, and you can’t help but falling in love with her.  We won’t let Haleigh be forgotten, we won’t let time lessen the urgency to find Haleigh.  Until the day when this beautiful soul is brought home, we will stand united and we will remind this world, that Haleigh cannot be forgotten, that no child should ever remain lost. We will …

Light Haleigh’s Way Home

Haleigh Cummings

Haleigh Cummings

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If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings, please immediately contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at:

1-386-329-0801

OR

The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at:

1-800-843-5678

USMCC000281LTWH

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~ by LTWH on December 24, 2011.

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