There are always those moments in an investigation where something does not seem quite right. Often some tell-tale sign, something unobtrusive, begins to nag at one’s thoughts. Such is the case with the Haleigh Cummings abduction. And the not-quite-right part seems to coalesce around the father’s 17-year-old girlfriend, Misty Croslin.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has interviewed her multiple times. This, of course, is only normal since she was the last person to see Haleigh Cummings before the 5-year-old disappeared. But her stories are inconsistent. They have been from the start.
Misty Croslin claims to have last seen Haleigh Cummings at 10 p.m. February 9 when she herself went to bed. Croslin was watching the children for her boyfriend, Ronald Cummings, while he was at work. They all slept in the same room together.
Croslin also claims that early in the morning, around 3 a.m., she awoke to go to the bathroom, only to notice that Haleigh Cummings was no longer in her bed.
She then found the back door open. When boyfriend Ronald Cummings arrived home at 3:25 a.m., they called the police.
Misty Croslin originally told the police that she was asleep in the same bed with Haleigh. She later changed her story. She said that she was in the same bed as Haleigh’s little brother, Ronald Cummings Jr., who is 4 years old, and that Haleigh was in the bed next to her.
Fox News and “America’s Most Wanted” correspondent Michelle Sigona have reported that several people have told investigators that they saw Misty Croslin out in the neighborhood that night, that she was not at the mobile home the entire time that night.
What does any of this mean? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps something that might be damaging to Misty Croslin, but not especially helpful to the investigation. Or perhaps something not so damaging to Croslin but something she does not want to mention for an unknown reason. Or perhaps it is something both damning to Croslin and helpful to the investigation.
But Misty Croslin and Ronald Cummings told Greta van Susteren on “On The Record” that they ‘passed’ the polygraph tests. That may be true, but ‘passing’ a polygraph test is not an admission, nor is it proof, of innocence. Your answers have been consistent with truthful responses. Nothing more.
But if Misty Croslin put the children down for the night and left them unattended, it would highlight potential opportunity for whoever the abductor was to enter and leave with little Haleigh Cummings.
Given that there are 44 known sex offenders within a five-mile radius of the Cummings trailor, Misty Cummings absence could have given one inclined to kidnap children that opportunity. It would explain why there was no forced entry (if she had left the front door unlocked for her eventual return), why she wasn’t awakened when the abductor took the sleeping child that supposedly slept only inches away, and why a quick retreat by the abductor out the back door, which normally remained closed and locked, might result in it standing open.
Of course, all of this speculation could be completely wrong as well.
The Orlando Sentinel has reported that there were stories and rumors circulating around a cousin of Misty Croslin’s named “Joe.” “Joe” lives in Tennessee and has been visited by Putnam County Sheriff’s officials and questioned. The Sheriff’s Office is remaining mum on the involvement – or even if there is any tangential involvement – of “Joe.” Rumors put “Joe” in Satsuma about the time little Haleigh went missing.
Haleigh Cummings’ grandmother and aunt told the Sentinel that they had heard that Misty Croslin’s cousin was a pedophile, but added that they did not know if it was true or not. Investigators admitted that they did not know if “Joe” is a sex offender or not.
The Sentinel also reported that a group of investigators entered a wooded area near the Cummings home Fiday, but the paper was unable to gather further information.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon.
Of course, everything Misty Croslin has said publicly and to the police might be truthful (barring a few discrepancies that could be the result of nervousness or misremembrances). Which only makes the story of Haleigh Cummings’ disappearance / abduction even more mysterious. But not implausible. And certainly not impossible.
But everything keeps coming back to Misty Croslin. And Michelle Sigona told Shepard Smith Thursday that investigators were speaking with the teenager, questioning her again. That may or may not have something to do with the questioning of her Tennessee cousin.
And Misty Croslin continues to be the axis around which this story turns…
It may be nothing, but it just seems that there’s just something not-quite-right there…
Fox Television’s “America’s Most Wanted” will profile the Haleigh Cummings abduction case Saturday, February 21.
“The Fox Report with Shepard Smith,” Fox News Channel