The 17-year-old girlfriend of a man whose 5-year-old daughter disappeared early Tuesday morning told Channel 4 that she woke up, found the kitchen light on, the back door wide open and the girl missing.
Haleigh Cummings was last seen at 10 p.m. Monday in her father's mobile home in Satsuma, where Misty Croslin said she put the girl to sleep in a bedroom with her 3-year-old brother. At 3:30 a.m., the girl was reported missing. By first light, a massive search was under way and an Amber Alert was issued.
Croslin has been interviewed by detectives and volunteered to take a lie-detector test -- which she said she passed -- but had not spoken publicly until midday Thursday when she spoke to Channel 4's Laura Mazzeo.
"I didn't hear anything at all. If I'd heard something, I would have got up and I wouldn't have let them take her," Croslin said.
Croslin said after putting Haleigh to sleep about 8 p.m., she was up doing laundry, which was right by the back door, which she knew was locked when she went back in the bedroom. She said she put a blanket on Haleigh and lay down in a bed nearby.
It's unclear whether Croslin left the bedroom prior to Haleigh disappearing. Croslin's account indicates that she left the room at some point. She said she woke up about 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom.
"I didn't make it to the bathroom. I seen the kitchen light on and I walked in the kitchen and the back door is wide open," Croslin told Channel 4's Laura Mazzeo. "I go in the room and she's gone. And that's all I know. When I went to bed she was there and then when I got up and she was gone."
Police have said they believe Croslin was with Haleigh until waking up at 3 a.m. Investigators said Croslin called 911 to report the girl missing about the time Haleigh's father, Ronald Cummings Jr., came home from working a night shift at his job in Palatka. [Listen To Croslin, Cummings Calls To 911]
Croslin said she and Cummings, 25, had been dating for five months. Cummings had legal custody of Haleigh and her brother.
Croslin said Haleigh and her 3-year-old brother "look at me like their mom."
"I love her like she's my own," she said. "I just want her to come home."
Croslin said she doesn't blame herself, but she's emotionally devastated and just want to know that Haleigh is safe.
"I wished they'd took me instead of her, because I could have fought," Croslin said. "She's only 5; she can't really do anything. What do they want with a little 5-year-old?"
Cummings also spoke Thursday, defending Croslin and addressing rumors that he or his girlfriend were involved in Haleigh's disappearance.
"She had nothing to do with this. I had nothing to do with this," Cummings said. "I have been slandered as a sorry father. Obviously, in most cases, fathers don't get custody of their children. A lot of people are talking like this is a custody battle. It's not a custody battle. It's about finding my 5-year-old daughter."
Haleigh's Mother Has Questions, But Same Plea Crystal Sheffield, who now lives in Baker County, has been in Satsuma since getting word Tuesday her daughter was missing.
Sheffield gets visitation with Haleigh twice a month. The 5-year-old was scheduled to spend this coming weekend with her mom.
"If somebody went in there and grabbed her, they'd have to know her," Sheffield said Thursday afternoon. "Haleigh's not going to wander off or let some stranger pick her up without making a noise. It all sounds fishy to me, but I don't want to make any accusations, I don't want to talk about them. I just want my baby home."
Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy said both sides of the family have done everything asked of them and been supportive of law enforcement in every way.
"Everybody, including the family -- and I want that for the record -- has been extremely cooperative with us," Hardy said.