11 years later: Still no trace of HaLeigh Cummings

5-year-old girl vanished from Putnam County on Feb. 9, 2009

Age progression photo from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shows HaLeigh Cummings on the left at age 5. On the right, what she's believed to look like at age 16. (News4Jax.com)

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – It’s been more than a decade since HaLeigh Cummings vanished at age 5, but her family and the Putnam County community still cling to hope and wish for her return home.

HaLeigh was last known to be sleeping in bed on Feb. 9, 2009, next to her little brother, Ronald Cummings Jr. or “Junior,” with her father’s girlfriend, 17-year-old Misty Croslin, who was babysitting while HaLeigh’s father, Ronald Cummings, was working an evening shift at his job.

When Cummings returned to his mobile home in Satsuma, his daughter was gone.

Croslin said she fell asleep and when she woke up the following morning, HaLeigh wasn’t there.

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“The rear door of the residence was found to be open,” then-Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy said hours after the search began.

The search went on for months in the air, on the water and on the ground. Crews would search the St. Johns River and scour the thick forest around the young girl’s neighborhood.

No stone was left unturned.

“Somebody stole my child out of my bed,” Cummings said days after his daughter disappeared. “I come home from work and my child was not there. That’s all there is to it. Gone – like that.”

After 11 years, the pain the family feels has not diminished. During that time, HaLeigh’s name has remained on the sign outside Hill’s Hardware store in Pomona Park.

The owners said in 2019 that her name will remain on the sign until she is found.

News4Jax anchor Jennifer Waugh introduced the “Into Thin Air” podcast on the 10th year of the girl’s disappearance. Investigators closest to the case reveal their theories about what happened to HaLeigh, and loved ones reflect on the mystery that forever upended their lives.

Haleigh would be turning 17 years old in August, and she would be in the 11th grade.

Anyone who witnessed or knows anything about the disappearance of the kindergartner is urged to call Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous and be eligible for a $15,000 reward for information that is called into the tip line and leads to an arrest in the case.

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