Putnam County Sex Predator Arrested
Sheriff: No Direct Connection To Haleigh; Not Going To Exclude Anybody
PALATKA, Fla. – A registered sexual predator who lives one mile from the mobile home where 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings disappeared 10 days ago was arrested Thursday, but Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy said there's no direct link to the girl's disappearance.
Timothy Randolph Loucakis, 50, was charged with violating the terms of his probation after officials said he was not home at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, which violated his curfew.
"We know where he was, by GPS, and we do have a team going down to that area just to do a preliminary search of that area," Hardy said Thursday afternoon.
Hardy said Loucakis was interviewed two hours after Haleigh was reported missing early the morning of Feb. 10. Deputies searched his home and checked his GPS monitoring bracelet, which showed he had not left his "home zone" during the time Haleigh disappeared.
Later that day, officers with the Florida Department of Corrections also visited Loucakis the same morning the Amber Alert being was issued for Haleigh.
"I'm not going to exclude anybody," Hardy said. "This man is a sex predator -- that means he's a dangerous individual."
Channel 4 learned that Loucakis was sentenced to five years in prison in 2001 on a conviction of promotion of sexual performance by a child and was to remain on probabion with GPS monitoring until December of this year.
Hardy also confirmed Thursday that detectives received unconfirmed sightings of Haleigh in Tennessee and they have questioned a Tennessee relative of Misty Croslin -- the girlfriend of Haleigh's father who was the last person to see the 5-year-old.
"We're questioning a lot of people," Hardy said. "We have polygraphs going on as we speak."
Croslin herself was brought to the sheriff's office for additional questioning on Thursday, but Hardy said her interveiw was routine and she will be returned to her home later in the day.
On Wednesday, Cummings and Crystal Sheffield, Haleigh's mother, were each brought to the sheriff's office for interviews.
"As leads develop, we will always be going back to the family members," Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent-in-charge Dominick Pape said. "As this case goes on and we feel the need to bring them in, we will. They've been very cooperative with us."
Dad To Haleigh: "We Will Find You"
Ten days after 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings disappeared from her mobile home, an obviously fatigued father faced the news media Thursday, thanking all who have helped searched for the kindergartener, the media for spreading the word and to law enforcement for their tireless efforts to find the girl.
Ronald Cummings also said he doesn't suspect his 17-year-old girlfriend did anything wrong the night Haleigh disappeared.
"I don't have any suspicions of anybody," Cummings said. "Obviously, if I knew what was going on, I would have my daughter."
Cummings became defensive when asked questions about his background, reports that he had a fight with a cousin over a gun, and other events in the days before Haleigh disappeared.
"It's about my daughter gone missing, not what's going on in my life," Cummings said. "People say a lot of things and they don't know what they're talking about."
Haleigh's paternal grandmother, Teresa Neves, said Putnam County detectives told them they have several good leads, but referred all questions about the investigation to the officials.
Cummings ended the 10-minute briefing with a message for his daughter:
"I would like to tell my daughter, if she's watching, baby, I love you and we will find you," Cummings said. "I love you."
Neves' message was to whomever took Haleigh:
"Why don't you have a heart and bring her home?" Neves said.
Leads Pour In; Reward Increased
In the 10 days that have passed since Haleigh disappeared, more than 1,300 tips have poured into a Crimestoppers hot line. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said they are checking out each one.
After more than a week of around-the-clock searching and investigation, officials were asked if they were discouraged that Haleigh was not located.
"Are we frustrated? Absolutely. We wish we had this resolved day one -- with three hours. But discouraged? Absolutely not," Pape said. "The men and women on this team, they're there every hour, every day giving 100 percent, and they will do that until we get resolution."
Officials also announced that a Putnam County resident who wants to remain anonymous donated a $10,000 reward. That would be added to a $5,000 reward previously offered by the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation and the $1,000 Crimestoppers reward for any tip that leads investigators to Haleigh.
Anyone with information about Haleigh's disappearance should call at 888-277-TIPS or the FDLE's Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 888-FL-MISSING.
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