Haleigh Cummings isn’t getting the same kind of national attention as she once did in 2009, after she went missing from her family home in Satsuma, Florida, but her disappearance still remains an open case.
Florida’s WUFT 5 reports that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released a recent age progression photo of Haleigh, now 12-years-old. Family members and those following the case can see a close resemblance to what she may currently look like, which gives hope that the young girl may still be found alive.
Haleigh was taken from her family home on February 10, 2009, while being cared for by Misty Croslin, who was 17-years-old at the time. Croslin lived in the home with Haleigh and her little brother Ronald Jr., along with her boyfriend Ronald Cummings, the father of both children. According to Croslin, Haleigh was sleeping on a small mattress on the floor, only four feet away from a larger bed that Croslin used.
Croslin stated that they did some laundry that night, and then went to bed at around 10 p.m., with Haleigh sleeping peacefully on the mattress. Some time afterwards, Croslin woke up to use the restroom, when she discovered that not only was the home’s back door ajar, but 5-year-old Haleigh wasn’t in her bed or anywhere in the home.
As authorities began to investigate the case, they learned that Croslin and her boyfriend were living in a world filled with drugs and violence. Yet, despite uncovering their sordid lifestyle and a lack of parenting skills, neither Ronald Cummings nor Croslin have ever been charged in connection with Haleigh’s disappearance. They’re both currently serving time in prison for drug charges.
Capt. Dominic Piscitello of Putnam County stated that the case is still being investigated by all levels of law enforcement, but if Haleigh is alive, she’s no longer in the area. Piscitello said that the case is now extremely personal to him, as if he’s searching for a member of his own family.
“Our goal is to bring this child back to her family. She becomes like part of your own family.”
Some members of Haleigh’s family, including her great grandmother, Annette Sykes, who has her living room covered with cards, pictures, and stuffed animals in remembrance of her great granddaughter, are still feeling the effects of the young girl’s disappearance. In 2014, Sykes said that she still holds out hope that Haleigh will one day come home.
“It’s like someone just stole part of me. You tend to take things for granted, especially a child, because they’re there. The things they do on a daily basis that you don’t really pay any attention to until they’re not there.”
Sykes also said that she thinks someone out there knows exactly what happened to Haleigh, but isn’t coming forward out of fear.
“You know, if they think that they’re going to get in trouble or have to spend years in prison for knowing something, they’re not going to tell. But if they’re granted amnesty, they would tell, because then they wouldn’t have to worry about getting in trouble.”
Although there are no new developments in the case, leads are still coming in, seven years later. Piscitello said he checks every lead thoroughly, and feels that Croslin is withholding information that could bring Haleigh Cummings home.
“I know the case pretty well. I look at it every day. We believe that Misty [Croslin] holds the key to telling us what happened to Haleigh that night.”
[Photo by AP/Reinhold Matay]