Investigator: We Are No Closer To Finding Haleigh
PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Two weeks after 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings vanished from her Satsuma home in the middle of the night, investigators were still searching for the kindergartner and following up on 1,600 leads.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said it has five detectives working on the case around the clock. On Monday, one investigator said they are no closer to finding Haleigh than they were when she first disappeared.
Haleigh was last seen at 10 p.m. Feb. 9, in bed at her home in the Hermet's Cove mobile home park where she lives with her father, his 17-year-old girlfriend and her younger brother.
Investigators were told the last person to see the 5-year-old was her father's girlfriend, Misty Croslin, who told investigators that she saw the girl in her bed at 10 p.m. She told police when she awoke at 3 a.m. on Tuesday to use the bathroom, Haleigh was missing and the back door of the home was open.
Over the past 14 days, detectives have questioned and re-questioned Haleigh's family members and anyone else who had contact with the child before she disappeared.
One person who was questioned on Monday was the fiancé of the missing child's mother. Police questioned Chad Griffis for about 30 minutes but would not say whether the man had been questioned in the past or why they questioned him on Monday.
Officials said they are not planning on scaling back their investigation.
However, as developments in the case have slowed, investigators opted on Monday not to hold a news conference. The daily news briefings by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office had been taking place nearly every day since Haleigh's disappearance.
The absence of the news briefing caused some concern for Haleigh's family members, who said they want the media attention on the missing 5-year-old.
"There is a concern that people will forget to pray or not remember what she looks like," said the Cummings' family pastor, Rev. Terry Wright.
One type of media coverage, however, did not sit well with some of the missing girl's loved ones. On Saturday evening, tensions boiled over during an interview between Ronald Cummings, Haleigh's father, and Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera.
At a time when the two sides of Haleigh's family remain united in a plea for the girl's safe return home, they couldn't be more divided about some things.
Haleigh's mother, Crystal Sheffield, and her family spoke out to Rivera last weekend, making several serious accusations against the missing girl's father.
"I felt fine with it. It bothers me that they're upset about it," Sheffield said.
Rivera confronted Cummings about allegations about drug use, physical abuse and claims that he was 75 percent sure he knew who took Haleigh.
When the controversial journalist brought up allegations of abuse, Cummings said he "never, ever have I ever hit my child."
"Me and my child have an agreement. Daddy-daughter. She has been spanked on her behind the way DCF (Florida Department of Children and Families) says that you can take care of disciplining your children," Cummings said in the Fox interview.
When Rivera continued pressing Cummings with allegations he hit Sheffield when she was pregnant with Haleigh, used illegal drugs and told someone he was "75 percent sure" he knew know took Haleigh, the property owners told Rivera to leave and Putnam County deputies were called.
"I'd have liked to punch him ? It was disgusting. To say the least, it was disgusting -- any man to put a man with his child gone like that through what he put him through," said Haleigh's paternal great-grandmother, Annette Sykes after the interview.
Rivera was issued a warning that if he would be charged with trespassing if he returned, according to the Putnam County incident report.
While neither of Haleigh's parents would speak to the media after the incident, Haleigh's maternal grandmother wasn't surprised at the confrontation between the family and Rivera.
"It's our word against his. You know, he says no and we say yes," said Haleigh's maternal grandmother, Marie Griffis.
Haleigh's family members on both sides said the drama and accusations have taken away from their shared goal of finding Haleigh.
"All of the commotion it caused took away from the searching and leads for Haleigh. We just want Haleigh, and the media slows down more and more each day because it's getting longer and longer," Sykes said.
Anyone with information about Haleigh's disappearance should call 888-277-TIPS or the FDLE's Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse at 888-FL-MISSING.
The reward for information regarding Haleigh's whereabouts and/or the conviction of the perpetrator of any crimes involving stands at $20,000.
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