According to the Associated Press, police are expanding their search for missing Haleigh Cummings, the 5-yea-old girl who disappeared from her home in Satsuma, Florida, early Tuesday (February 10) morning. Investigators began treating the case as that of a missing person early, believing that the child had been abducted from her home. According to Putnam County officials, there were no signs of forced entry and no indication that little Haleigh Cummings simply “wandered off” at such a late hour.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Major Gary Bowling said in a press briefing on Wednesday that the main evidence that Haleigh Cummings being abducted was that: “She’s a 5-year-old child and she’s afraid of the dark.”
The PCSO originally set up a search for the missing child in a five-mile radius around the home. When initial efforts proved fruitless, it was decided to expand the search perimeter. Sheriff Jeff Hardy told AP that the area had been searched several times and that it was “just prudent” to “go ahead and extend the area.”
MSNBC reported that Putnam County investigators, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the FBI were all focusing their investigation on a suspected abduction.
Investigators are re-interviewing family members, neighbors, and friends, treating everyone as a suspect as the case nears a week in length. “At this time,” Hardy stated, “the world is a suspect.”
It is being reported that “several items of interest” were found by investigators Friday, leading them to believe that Haleigh Cummings is still alive.
Both Ronald Cummings, Haleigh Cummings’ father, and Misty Croslin, his 17-year-old girlfriend (and the last person to see Haleigh on Monday night), have been polygraphed. According to an interview on Fox News’ “On The Record,” the two told Greta van Susteren that they “passed.”
Thus far, the investigation has pursued over 350 leads. No arrests have been made.
Fox Television’s “America’s Most Wanted” profiled Haleigh Cummings missing person case Saturday, February 14, as well. Host John Walsh, whose own son, Adam, was abducted from a Florida mall in broad daylight in 1981, profiled the 5-year-old’s case. Ronald Cummings’ and Misty Croslin’s frenetic 911 call can be heard on the AMW website. The call was made at 3:27 a.m.
According to Misty Croslin, who was babysitting Haleigh Cummings and Ronald Cummings, Jr. (Haleigh’s 3-yea-old little brother), she last saw the child when she went to bed around 10 p.m. Haleigh had already been in bed for approximately two hours. It was later, around 2 a.m., that Misty Croslin awoke and found the child missing and the back door to the mobile home open.
According to Croslin and Ronald Cummings, the back door was always kept locked because it was rarely ever used. Cummings told van Susteren that he made a habit of checking the back door every day before going to work. The door has two locks: a lock on the doorknob and an additional deadbolt lock. It was locked before he left Monday. Both he and Misty Croslin said it was difficult to unlock that particular door and doubted that little Haleigh could have done it on her own. They believe someone picked the lock.
Misty Croslin was asleep in the same room as Haleigh and her brother. She told van Susteren that she was only “inches” away.
Ronald Cummings came home from work around 3: 25 a.m. and Croslin met him at the door. She had been frantically searching the trailor and told him Haleigh was missing. She had found the back door wide open.
The two then notified the police.
There are 44 known registered sex offenders who live within 5 miles of the Cummings’ home. According to MSNBC, the FBI was in the process of tracking those individuals down and questioning them.
Crystal Sheffield, Haliegh’s mother, whose relationship with her ex-husband, Ronald Cummings, has been described as “rocky,” said, “I just want them to bring her back. I just want her home.”
The mobile home where the abduction took place has been cordoned off since the incident.
Life-Prints Solutions, an organization that has developed software for guardians and parents to profile their children to be used in case of an emergency (or an abduction), maintains that there are at least 60,000 non-family abductions every year. There are 164 every day. And these are the reported ones. Using U. S. Department of Justice statistics, Life-Prints found that nearly 2,000,000 children go missing every year. Nearly 1 million of those missing children are never reported. Of course, almost all of these children are found or return to their homes of their own accord. But of the 800,000 or so that are reported, almost 270,000 are abducted, with 208,000 abductions being carried out be family members.
Anyone with any information about Haleigh’s disappearance should call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 386-329-0808 or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 888-FL-MISSING.
AMW.com”America’s Most Wanted,” Saturday, February 14, Fox Television