Saturday, February 14, 2009

Haleigh Ann Marie Cummings and Dominick Wesley Arceneaux, Where Are These Children?



No sooner had two year old Caylee Marie Anthony been memorialized in Orlando, FL on Tuesday, February 10 in a public memorial that was televised around the world and word broke that another little girl had gone missing in Florida.

Five year old Haleigh Cummings of Satsuma, FL was reported missing at about 3:30 Tuesday morning by her father. Ronald Cummings, 24, received a phone call from his live in girlfriend, Misty Croslin, 17,as he pulled in his driveway, when he came home from work in the early morning hours, telling him that his daughter Haleigh was missing.

Cumming’s girlfriend reports that she had put Haleigh to bed at 8 p.m. Monday along with Haleigh’s 4 year old brother Ronald Jr. and joined them in the bedroom at about 10 p.m. There have been conflicting reports as to who was in what bed, but it appears that Haleigh was in a small bed by herself and Croslin and Jr. were in the bigger bed. When Croslin got up at approximately 3 a.m. to use the restroom she noticed the kitchen light was on and the back door was open. She returned to the bedroom and found that Haleigh was missing.

Within 1 hour the FL Department of Law Enforcement activated the Child Abduction Regional Team. Searching began by over 100 officers from county, state and federal law enforcement by helicopters, bloodhounds, ATV riders and ground searchers conducted grid searches of the wooded area and boats, divers searched the nearby St. Johns River. By 9:30 a.m. Tuesday an Amber Alert had been issued.

"The girlfriend and the father are cooperating with police," Special Agent Steve Donaway of the Florida Dept of Law Enforcement said at an afternoon news conference. "It could be an abduction. We're looking at it from all angles. Haleigh’s mother Crystal Sheffield, 23, lives about 100 miles away from Satsuma. She and her family came to Satsuma to be close to the search site and wait for any word about Haleigh. According to Sheffield's mother, Marie Griffis, her daughter and Cummings split up about three years ago. She said that they had not been fighting and that Haleigh and Ronald would visit with the child's mother every other weekend

On Wednesday morning, the FBI dispatched 16 federal agents to assist local authorities. They are trying to rule out roughly 44 sex offenders who live within a 5-mile radius of the Cummings home. Haleigh's disappearance is now being treated as an abduction, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office during a Wednesday news conference.

In related news, Joshua Duckett, the father of missing Leesburg toddler Trenton Duckett, and George Anthony, grandfather of child murder victim Caylee Anthony have both traveled to Putnam County to show their support for Haleigh's family. In addition, celebrity bounty hunter Leonard Padilla is in the area, assisting in the search. Padilla is offering a no-questions-asked $25,000 reward to anyone who returns Haleigh before midnight on Saturday. Members of the search and recovery group Texas EquuSearch began arriving in Putnam County Thursday to assist in the search.

Haleigh Cummings is described as three feet tall, 39 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink shirt and underwear. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Putnam County Sheriff's Office at 386-329-0808 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS.



Meanwhile Tuesday in Arkansas, a 3 year old boy, Dominick Arceneaux went missing as well. According to Dominick’s mother, Amber Arceneaux, around 2:00 p.m., Dominick walked outside their mobile home and she hasn’t seen him since. "He went outside and played, then came back in and knocked his boots off. He wanted to play in the mud. He walked back outside and just disappeared. It was only about 5 minutes when we noticed anything was up," says Amber Arceneaux. She and a relative, Sherry Mitchell, looked for Dominick for about 15 minutes before calling 911.

White Oak Lake is directly behind their home, but Sheriff David Norwood says the boy's mother taught Dominick about water safety and always instructed him to stay away. Norwood says, "From her indication he is scared of water and wouldn't go around water." Still though dive teams are searching the lake, but so far there are no clues, which are why deputies aren't ruling anything out. "We are treating it as a drowning. We are treating it as someone may be missing in the woods. We are also treating it as it may be a kidnapping," Norwood explains. The child’s mother believes someone abducted him.
The child's father, Andre Arceneaux, is on his way back to Arkansas from Georgia where he is stationed in the Army. A Morgan Nick Amber Alert has been issued for the 3-year-old, plus deputies spent the day talking with what they call potential suspects. On the list was about 25 different people, but so far those interviews have lead to no leads. Norwood says, "We are pulling video tapes from all stores, sex offenders that we are interviewing, doing everything we can from all different directions of all different possibilities about what happened."

About 70 volunteers showed up Wednesday to help search for Dominick as ground and water searches continued. Arkansas State Police and the FBI are also investigating.

On Thursday, two members from the National Center for Exploited Children arrived from Virginia to help the search. Smelser explains, "They have maps of areas and this is their expertise. This is what they do and they are guiding us in the investigation." Meantime, deputies still have not ruled out the possibility that Dominick was kidnapped. In fact, again Thursday they were interviewing frequent customers of the Hog Wild Saloon, a bar just a few yards from the boy's home.
As for the nearby 1,700 acre lake, four divers spent the day dragging the water looking for any clues. However, the water is murky which is making the search more difficult.

Friday, Texas EquuSearch is deploying a team from Texas and Florida to assist in the search at the request of law enforcement. Sixty Soldiers with the Arkansas National Guard’s 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were also called to join the search on Friday.
Dominick Arceneaux is described as a 3 year old male with an olive skin, 3' tall, 38 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes. The boy was last seen wearing a pair of blue jean shorts with red stitching on the pockets.
If you have any information, contact the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office at 870-837-2200.
update:
The FBI has just released this number to call with any tips about Dominick:
The number is 1-800-CALL-FBI or 1-800-225-5324.
Haleigh Source:
Dominick Sources:
Sphere: Related Content

5 comments:

  1. You wrote a great story covering these two events katfish. I don't know if anyone else is covering the disappearance of Dominick.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Sprocket,
    That is exactly what motivated me to research and post this entry. It's strange how two children can go missing and one gets worldwide coverage and the other nothing.(Dominick) I connected the stories and tagged Caylee as well thinking it might help get the word out, hopefully they will both come home soon. I will follow and update when there is something credible to report.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The disparity in coverage is often puzzling.

    ReplyDelete
  4. who lets a 3 year old boy go outside alone in the rain in febuary. what a horrible mother. WITH NO SHOES ON????

    ReplyDelete
  5. twiztidfirefly,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I checked the weather reports for the area that day and it was 74 degrees and while there was light rain early in the day it shows mostly cloudy at 2pm when Dominick went missing.
    I'm loathe to criticize Dominick's mom, Amber Arceneaux.....I don't know if you read any of my follow up to this story, but Amber will regret her decision to allow a 3 year old boy outside alone so close to a lake for the rest of her life....after an 8 day search Dom's body was found floating about 10 feet from shore in White Oak Lake, about 200-300 yards from where he was last seen. :`(

    ReplyDelete