The Haleigh Cummings missing person case seems to be revolving around the teenager girlfriend of the father, Misty Croslin. She was the babysitter. She was the last person to see the little 5-year-old that has been missing now for 11 days. Her stories seem to have inconsistencies in them when they’re retold. And then there is the strangely disturbing story of the mysterious “Joe,” a cousin of Croslin’s who may or may not be a sex offender who might or might not have been in Satsuma, Florida, at the time Haleigh went missing.
To perhaps defend herself against any speculation that she had anything to do with Haleigh Cummings’ disappearance, Misty Croslin appeared on the “Today Show.” Matt Lauer asked Croslin if she thought her cousin might have had anything to do with her charge’s disappearance. Croslin said she really didn’t know.
Matt Lauer immediately seized upon her reluctance to implicate a family member, calling her answer “interesting.” He told her that many would probably have answered with a definitive “no.”
But Misty Croslin was uncertain about her cousin. She said, “I’m not quite sure at all. No . . . He’s a criminal pretty much, he’s been in trouble his whole life. I don’t trust him.”
A sex offender was arrested just a mile from the Cummings mobile home Wednesday night. Putnam County Sheriff’s officials maintain that it was unrelated, a routine probation violation. The sex offender, who is equipped with a GPS device on his leg, missed his 10 p.m. curfew and was picked up by the authorities.
Lauer asked Croslin about the pink shirt that investigators admitted to having found. Croslin told Lauer she found the shirt when detectives took her back to the trailer. She told the “Today Show” host that she had been looking for the clothes Haleigh had been wearing that day when she went to school. She asked Lauer, “If I was hiding something, why would I show the cops the shirt?”
Lauer then asked her about the rumors that she had left the trailer the night that Haleigh went missing. “I was home. I was home. I don’t know where anyone come with I wasn’t home. I was home.”
If it sounds as if Misty Croslin was being treated a bit harshly by “Today Show” host Matt Lauer, it must be remembered that, according to the original story told by Croslin, Haleigh Cummings was spirited away in the middle of the night while she slept either inches or a few feet away in the same room (and in the same bed in the first version of her story, which was later changed to a separate bed in the same room). It should also be noted that she and Ronald Cummings, her boyfriend and Haleigh’s father, have already pointed out the difficulty of unlocking the back door, which was supposedly found wide open when Croslin began looking for the missing child.
It also should be pointed out that Misty Croslin has “passed” a polygraph test. Although it does not prove that she is completely innocent, it is a good indicator that Croslin’s answers to the investigation’s questions were consistent with the truth.
So where does that leave the investigation into Haleigh Cummings’ disappearance?
It is difficult to tell. There is plenty of information that investigators do not disclose, that the public becomes privy to sometime later. This allows the investigation to proceed unhindered by prying eyes, ears, and “CSI” wannabes. It also helps the investigators weed out those who insist on being helpful (and are not), those looking for attention, and those who are simply delusional by being able to cross-check against evidence not made public.
And could Misty Croslin simply be lying to all concerned?
And unfortunately for Haleigh Cummings, this case remains a mystery…
For a full profile on the Haleigh Cummings missing person case, go the “America’s Most Wanted: Haleigh Ann Marie Cummings.”
OrlandoSentinel.com”Today Show,” NBC Television