New Haleigh searches come up empty-handed


Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 at 11:32 p.m.

A weekend ground search for a missing Putnam County girl and a law enforcement interview with a relative of the child's stepmother, launched after she reportedly failed lie-detector and voice-stress tests last month, didn't provide any new information about the youngster, according to searchers and officers.

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Haleigh Cummings

On Saturday, members of EquuSearch, a Texas-based search group, hunted for signs or any clues regarding Haleigh Cummings, a 6-year-old who vanished from her south Putnam home in February, in woods near the residence. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office also confirmed they had questioned the brother of Misty Croslin-Cummings, the child's stepmother, after she said during one of the tests that Tommy Croslin had been acting strangely after Haleigh's disappearance.

Attention in the case of the missing girl has been focused on Croslin-Cummings after the Sheriff's Office publicly stated last month that investigators believe she hasn't been truthful.

While Haleigh's father was at work, Croslin-Cummings, who was then Ronald Cummings' girlfriend, has said she was asleep at home with Haleigh and the girl's younger brother when the child vanished.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Johnny Greenwood said questioning Croslin-Cummings' brother and participating in the search were efforts by the law enforcement agency to make sure they cover all bases.

And Greenwood repeated that investigators feel there are problems with Croslin-Cummings' reports of what happened that night.

"She's failed to account for her actions that evening," Greenwood said. "There's lots of holes in her statements. The things she said she was doing we verified she wasn't doing."

The most recent search focused on an area Croslin-Cummings talked about while taking tests the head of EquuSearch said she hoped would clear her name.

In an unrecorded comment, Croslin-Cummings allegedly told the founder of the search firm that there was an area that may not have been adequately searched. She said searchers should look for a red rose and provided a location.

The flower had previously been located and the area was shown to investigators before the weekend search.

Rich Giles with EquuSearch was among about 30 members of the group who hunted through the area Saturday.

He described it as a strip of wooded property of varying widths running from the St. Johns River east behind the home where Haleigh, her brother and father were staying. The land had been searched before, Giles said.

Participants were on foot and were an arms-length apart as they moved in a line through the woods once and then back through again. Although nothing was located, Giles said it was a good search because at least it helps eliminate one area and may put investigators closer to concentrating on other locations.

Like the Sheriff's Office, Giles said there are no specific plans for any immediate actions in connection with the missing child.

"It's basically a wait on new information," he said.

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