What Happened To Haleigh? 5-Year-Old Florida Girl Went Missing Day Of Caylee Anthony’s Memorial Service

Haleigh Cummings missing poster

Since her tragic death and her mother Casey Anthony’s controversial acquittal, the image of little Caylee Anthony has been burned into the brains of all of us with an interest in true crime.

Haleigh Cummings [Putnam County Sheriff's Office]

Haleigh Cummings [Putnam County Sheriff’s Office]

But almost no one remembers five-year-old Haleigh Cummings, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who went missing in the small Putnam County town of Satsuma, Florida.

Related: The Lust Life Of Casey Anthony: 3 Sex Shockers And Secret Allegations

Haleigh, who would be 13 this year, was last seen alive on February 9, 2009 at the home of her father Ronald Cummings.

Haleigh's photo, shown age-progressed to 12 years [National Center For Missing & Exploited Children]

Haleigh’s photo, shown age-progressed to 12 years [National Center For Missing & Exploited Children]

An Amber Alert was issued for Haleigh on the day of Caylee’s memorial service, and the media immediately jumped on the story of another missing girl in Florida.

Misty Croslin, who was Ronald Cummings’ then-17-year-old live-in girlfriend at the time, said she was babysitting Haleigh and her younger brother Ronald, Jr., and that Haleigh disappeared during the night.

Investigators became suspicious when Croslin first claimed Haleigh was sleeping with her in the big bed but eventually said that she was sleeping on a small mattress on the floor in the master bedroom.

Related: Not Just JonBenét: 5 Other Cases That Had Officials Asking “Intruder Or Insider?”

Croslin said she went to sleep around 10:00 P.M. after doing laundry, then woke up during the night and saw a light in the kitchen, the back door held ajar by a cinder block — and no sign of Haleigh.

But while Caylee’s story focused on a middle-class family, the world inhabited by Cummings and Croslin brought out a cast of seemingly less sympathetic shady characters, violence, and drugs.

When TV stations tried to interview Cummings and Croslin, Croslin just stared ahead in what appeared to be a drug-induced stupor.

Related: Baby Sofia, Missing Since Mom’s Murder, Found Alive; Suspects In Custody

Ronald had obtained custody of his two children because their mother, Crystal Sheffield, allegedly also had a history of drug problems. Sheffield, who had met Cummings when she was also underage, had accused him of violence against her and the children.

In his book The Murder Business, former LAPD detective Mark Furhman (who took the spotlight during the O.J. Simpson murder case) wrote:

“It had turned into too much of a white-trash nightmare, too much of a freak show. Viewers can take the bizarre, frightening underbelly of White America only in small doses in a careful context, as guests in Jerry Springer or Maury Povich’s circus acts or when they’re anonymous.’’

Investigators cleared Cummings, who was working that night, of involvement, but later said that other people were present at the house the night Haleigh disappeared, including Misty Croslin’s brother Hank Croslin, Jr., and her cousin Joe Overstreet.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office brought Misty Croslin and the others in for questioning for months, but no trace of Haleigh was ever found.

Haleigh-Cummings

Reporters left the scene, and the case is rarely mentioned, except in local papers.

On April 15, 2010, Sheriff Jeff Hardy announced Haleigh was most likely dead, and the case was being worked as a homicide. The Sheriff’s Office released a statement, saying the ongoing investigation has “minimized the likelihood that Haleigh’s disappearance is the work of a stranger,” and that those who know what happened still won’t tell investigators.

But — while murder was one of several scenarios detectives investigated — police have said that with no body, they did not have enough evidence to bring charges against anyone suspected of involvement. Until a body is found — or a killer brought to justice — Haleigh’s agonized family continues to wait for answers.

Related: The Serial Imposter Who Claimed To Be A Missing Boy — And Fooled The Family

Last year, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an updated age-progression photo of Haleigh at age 12.

Ronald Cummings mug shot [Putnam County Jail]

Ronald Cummings mug shot [Putnam County Jail]

Misty Croslin [Florida Department of Corrections]

Misty Croslin [Florida Department of Corrections]

Misty Croslin, Ronald Cummings, Hank Croslin, Jr., and two others were arrested in January of 2010 for trafficking in pain pills during an undercover sting operation that had been going on for months. They all eventually pleaded guilty or no contest, and are all serving lengthy prison terms.

Police ask anyone with information about Haleigh Cummings to call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at (386) 329-0808.

If you are in search of a missing person, make sure to enter their information into the database of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Read more:

News4Jax 

Main image: Haleigh Cummings missing poster

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  • Martha Bartha

    She’ll be found in the last place they look!

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    • Common Misconception (Alex)

      LOL Obviously! That’s always were every missing person is, the last place you look. Thanks, you made my day

      • Martha Bartha

        It was my pleasure! No Charge!😱

  • Paula Johnson

    So sad, it’s like she never existed.

  • Drew Hudson

    Its Misty Croslins cousin Joseph overstreet the one whom was a suspect once upon a time and then for some reason wasnt of interest to the authorities apparently owned a gun he lent Ronald but didnt get it back off him when he wanted so took Haleigh instead Misty stated something about him indecently assaulting her when she was younger so he has thats one characteristic about him and also i have seen photographs which show himself and haleigh when i was hacking into some CP based websites to report and have them taken down off the web not sure whether interpol or any other agencies have seen the same thing most likely not if nothing has been solved the way it should yet but im based in Australia and have no where near as the skills and technology they do this is one piece of evidence which will bring us closure im sure not a doubt about it

    • Common Misconception (Alex)

      What? That’s it, that’s all I got. What?

  • Sam Getty

    Could be another child victim of the opioid epidemic – young child gets into parent’s or caretaker’s pills and overdoses, caretakers freak out, hide the body and make up an abduction story. I work in addiction medicine and this kind of stuff happens more than most people know, sadly. Given the drug charges for the dad and “girlfriend” I think this is more likely than someone sneaking into the house in the middle of the night and taking her.

    • Common Misconception (Alex)

      Unfortunately that is the most likely scenario. I live in Akron, OH and we’ve been hit pretty hard here. I’ve lost some of my best friends and there is a new story about an infant or toddler’s death as a result of a parent’s use. It’s really sad when you live in a world so jaded that stories of children dying from accidental (or intentional) ingestion of drugs doesn’t make anywhere near the front page. Just a small article somewhere in the middle of the paper. I haven’t even found an article online, that’s how much my city is affected by the opiate epidemic. I personally don’t know anyone who isn’t affected directly or indirectly by this, it’s going to boil over soon and locking up all the drug dealers doesn’t seem to be slowing anyone down. We need real solutions to real problems. Sorry for the rant

  • Mandy Tasnady

    I never ever forgot this child, I still search for an update on the internet every 6 months. I hope the truth comes out, I hope someone has the balls to tell the truth about what happened and where her body is…. This little princess needs justice!

  • Jeanie

    Very sad story.

  • Bruce Nelson

    Drugs. Drugs. DRUGS!! The so called parents most likely traded her off for drugs. Im disgusted at the mugshots of “Daddy”. Just smiling as big as he pls’s. Id be in total permanent turmoil.

  • Betta Yetta

    I think when the authorities decided that Haleigh’s body was probably thrown to the alligators that’s when the case went cold.