Investigators In 2nd Week Of Hunt For Haleigh
Leads Pour In To Crime Stoppers Hot Line
PALATKA, Fla. – One week after an Amber Alert was issued for 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings, leads are pouring into a Crime Stoppers hot line but the Putnam County Sheriff's Office doesn't know how or why she disappeared from her father's mobile home.
Haleigh was reported missing just after 3 a.m. last Tuesday after her father's girlfriend woke up and found the child missing. Within minutes, 17-year-old Misty Croslin and Haleigh's father, Ronald Cummings, placed frantic calls to 911.
Almost from the beginning, the case was treated as an abduction.
Authorities said Tuesday they have modified the Amber Alert description to remove Haleigh's clothing.
"We obtained information through our investigation that young Haleigh was not, in fact, wearing the pink shirt at the time of her disappearance," Putnam County Chief Deputy Rick Ryan said, urging people to only focus on her face.
Tuesday afternoon, officials said they have received almost 1,200 leads -- double the number they had on Monday -- but there have been no confirmed sightings of Haleigh.
"I don't know where the investigation will take us and every lead is critical," said Dominick Pape, special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Officials Tight-Lipped, Determined
As the days have passed and the focus is less on the search and more the investigation, authorities will answer fewer questions at their daily briefings.
"We've got the life of a 5-year-old at stake," Ryan said Tuesday afternoon. "We're not going to do anything that will compromise that, period."
Monday afternoon and evening, officers contacted about 300 people in the neighborhood and other state officers make 210 contacts at checkpoint along Buffalo Bluff Road -- the only access to the home park. Ryan said one piece of information gathered in that effort resulted in a search on Tuesday, but nothing of significance was found.
Investigators said they have reinterviewed Croslin, Cummings, Haleigh's mother Crystal Sheffield, and extended family members and friends who had contact with Haleigh in the hours and days before she disappeared.
"We don't have all our questions answered and, obviously, we don't have Haleigh," Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy said. "We'll interview people as many times as we feel necessary."
Even though Hardy has praised the family for cooperating over the past week, lie detector tests were administered to most of them. The sheriff's office won't discuss the results of the polygraph tests.
Family Waits, Hopes, Prays
Haleigh's family continues to spend their days and nights in a tented area near where Haleigh disappeared. Surrounded with flowers, teddy bears, candles and well-wishes, the family can just watch, hope and pray.
"We just watch the TV and pray for something to break," Teresa Neves said in an interview Tuesday morning.
She then turned to the camera and addressed her granddaughter: "We love you, baby. We're doing everything we can to bring you home. Just hang in there, sweetheart."
While candlelight vigils have been held at the site every night for the past week, the Cummings family's pastor is holding a special service Tuesday night at Dunn's Creek Baptist Church. Family, friends, Haleigh's classmates, community members and law enforcement officials are expected to attend.
Authorities ask anyone with any information to call Crimes Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS or the FDLE's Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 888-FL-MISSING.
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