SATSUMA, Fla. – More than 130 law enforcement personnel from several local and state agencies are searching for a 5-year-old girl who disappeared from her home in Satsuma before dawn Tuesday.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said Haleigh Ann-Marie Cummings was last seen at 10 p.m. Monday when her father's girlfriend put her to bed at their home on Green Lane, off Buffalo Bluff Road.
While deputies and state officers from at least five agencies searched the area and the nearby St. Johns River, Haleigh's grieving father told Channel 4 there is no doubt in his mind that she was abducted and he'll do anything to get her back.
Ronald Cummings said Haleigh is afraid of the dark and there's no way she would have gone out in the middle of the night by herself.
"I came home this morning to find that I didn't have a child," Cummings. "Somebody stole my child."
Putnam County deputies began a search of the area at 3:30 a.m. after the mother found the girl missing and Cummings came home from working a night shift and found back door of their mobile home open and called 911.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an endangered/missing alert before 9 a.m. Less than two hours later, authorities upgraded it to an Amber Alert.
While Putnam County deputies said there was no sign of forced entry in the residence, they requested that the FDLE elevate the incident to an Amber Alert.
"When you're dealing with a child of this young of an age along with the time frame that the child has been gone, that elevates it to a higher level and that causes us a little more of a concern for the welfare and safety of the child," Putnam County Sheriff's Office Capt. Steve Rose said.
Rose said that while they have no reason to suspect foul play, deputies went door to door and searched cars leaving the neighborhood and contacted known sex offenders in the area to establish their whereabouts. They also brought K-9 unit in to track any leads.
"Whoever has the child is not supposed to have the child at this point," Putnam County Detective John Merchant said during an afternoon news conference.
St. Johns and Volusia counties sent resources to help and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has contributed two boats and a helicopter to the search. A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office search boat is also helping out.
Late afternoon, authorities announced that the FBI was sending a team to join the investigation.
Haleigh is described as having blond hair and brown eyes, is 3 feet tall and weighs 39 pounds. She was last seen in the Hermit's Cove area of Satsuma wearing a pink shirt and underwear.
Channel 4 learned that a 2-year-old and a 17-year-old cousin were sleeping in the same bedroom as Haleigh. They are both safe and detectives said the teenager had no information about what happened to Haleigh.
Haleigh's mother, who lives in south Georgia, went to Satsuma on Tuesday and was cooperating in the search.
Authorities ask anyone with any information to call the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 386-329-0800 or the FDLE's Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 888-FL-MISSING.
"Please call and give (information) to the police department," Cummings said. "J just want my child back."