11 years of Haleigh Cummings case: Chilling details and new clues, but when will the mystery be solved?
'Somebody stole my child out of my bed,' Ronald said days after his daughter disappeared
It is been more than 11 years since five-year-old Haleigh Cummings vanished from her home in Satsuma, Alabama. Even after a decade has passed, the people of the Putnam County community still hopes that the child will return soon.
On the night of February 9, 2009, Haleigh was sleeping in bed, next to her brother Ronald Cummings Jr with her father's 17-year-old girlfriend Misty Croslin, who was at home at that night, as Haleigh's father, Ronald Cummings, was working an evening shift at his job. When Ronald returned home at about 3 am, Croslin told him that she had just woken up to find Haleigh missing from her bed and that a cinder block was propping open the back door.
“The rear door of the residence was found to be open,” then-Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy said hours after the search began. The hunt went on for months in the air, on the water and on the ground. Teams would search the St Johns River and hunt the thick forest around the young girl’s neighborhood. No evidence of Haleigh has ever been found despite these wide-spread searches involving hundreds of volunteers and an investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies.
“Somebody stole my child out of my bed,” Ronald said days after his daughter disappeared. “I come home from work and my child was not there. That’s all there is to it. Gone – like that," Sherrif Hardy added.
Even after 11 years, the family's pain has not diminished. According to a report by WJXT, Haleigh's name has remained on the sign outside Hill’s Hardware store in Pomona Park. The owners of the store have stated in 2019 that her name will prevail on the sign until she is found. News4Jax anchor Jennifer Waugh introduced the 'Into Thin Air' podcast on the 10th year of the girl’s disappearance. Investigators who have closely investigated the mystery have some theories of what would have happened to Haleigh.
Last year, in November HLN, came up with a docuseries called 'Real Life Nightmare' which revealed shocking details about the case. Among the pieces of evidence shown in the documentary, a video where Ronald is speaking to tearful Croslin in a police interview has also emerged. "You didn't wake up," Cummings is heard telling Croslin after an investigator let him into the interview room when she was being questioned. To which she replied, saying, "I would never let nothing happen to her if I knew something. I wouldn't let someone just take her." "You didn't get out of bed,'' Cummings said before asking Croslin: ''You sure you didn't unlock the door?'' Croslin responded: ''I didn't even hear anything.''
Haleigh would be turning 17 years old in August, and she would be in the 11th grade.
In 2010, Cumings and Croslin were jailed after being caught with 330 tablets of oxycodone and hydrocodone in their car. Croslin is currently serving 25 years in prison, while Cummings was sentenced to 15 years. Both Croslin and Cummings are currently in prison on drug trafficking charges unrelated to Haleigh's disappearance.
Anyone who witnessed or knows anything about the disappearance of the kindergartner is urged to call Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a $15,000 reward for information that is called into the tip line and leads to an arrest in the case.