Family Holds Vigil, Prays For Haleigh For 11th Night
PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – For the 11th straight evening, family members and friends of missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings came together to hold a candlelight vigil and pray for the child's safe return home.
For the past week and a half, it seems coming together with other people who love and miss Haleigh has been helping the family get through the tough time.
Friday night's cold temperatures didn't stop Haleigh's loved ones from coming together for their nightly vigil. Ronald Cummings and his girlfriend, Misty Croslin, stood side by side as they prayed.
Investigators said new leads continue to come in, but so far none of the tips they've received has panned out.
Haleigh's paternal grandmother, Teresa Neves, said it's frustrating but they're not giving up hope.
"I feel like my grand-baby is alive. I pray to God that whoever has her is feeding her and taking care of her," Neves said. "I don't know where she is. I can't image how they got her out of that house. I can't image who would be sick enough to take her from her family that absolutely adores her."
Investigators confirmed on Friday that they have traveled to Tennessee to interview a relative of Croslin who visited the family before Haleigh's disappearance.
On Friday morning, Croslin told Matt Lauer on the "Today" show that she doesn't trust that cousin and doesn't know if he's involved in Haleigh's disappearance.
"He's a criminal, pretty much," Croslin said. "He's been in trouble his whole life."
In Tennessee last Sunday, a woman called 911 saying she saw a little girl who looked like Haleigh getting into a red Toyota Rav4 in the parking lot of a Carabba's restaurant.
The woman said it appeared that the man was attempting to shield the girl's face.
Knoxville police and the Florida Highway Patrol searched the area, but they could not find the vehicle.
"I don't believe that she would go into a restaurant and not cry for somebody," said Neves. "I can only pray it was her because that means she's alive and eating well."
Earlier in the day on Friday, a tip led detectives into some woods south of Satsuma. Neither that search, a result of a lead, nor a search conducted of the area where a sex offender visited after his curfew turned up anything useful, Putnam County Sheriff's Office Capt. Dick Schauland said Friday afternoon.
Police said that like Haleigh's family, they too are frustrated but not discouraged. They said they would continue to search and follow up on leads until the girl is found.
Some of Haleigh's family members and friends made new posters to be put up around the state until their little girl is brought home.
Also on Friday, the reward for information regarding Haleigh's whereabouts and/or the conviction of the perpetrator of any crimes involving her was increased by $4,000. The total reward money being offered is now $20,000.
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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