Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who Killed Haleigh Cummings? Eeny, Meeny, Miny or Moe ; Misty, Ron, Tommy or Joe ?

Joe Overstreet
Hank "Tommy " Croslin, Jr.
Misty Croslin- Cummings
Ronald Cummings

The investigation into the case of a missing 5 year old Satsuma, Florida girl, Haleigh Ann Marie Cummings, has taken some drastic turns in this past week. Haleigh was reported missing in the wee hours of the morning of February 10, 2009 by her father's 17 year old girlfriend, Misty Croslin, and her father, Ronald Cummings Sr. Here is a link to the  911 call made to the Putnum County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) to report Haleigh missing and the original police report.

This entry will be about the events of this past week, but I wanted to give some background for those who haven't closely followed this case. Click here to see previous entries on katfish...ponders related to this case.
I haven't written a lot about this case because other than the initial search for Haleigh, the search this week is only the second physical search for Haleigh in the last 14 months. Most  media reports have revolved around misbehavior or strange behaviors of those involved in Haleigh's life, but not necessarily what happened to Haleigh.

Speaking of misbehavior, on January 21, 2010, Haleigh's father Ron, his girlfriend/wife/ex-wife/whatever Misty, Misty's brother Tommy and 2 others were arrested for trafficking prescription drugs. I chose not to address those reports other than commenting on other blogs and message boards because the PCSO said the arrests were not related to the Haleigh investigation.

 ~   Fly Home Little Haleigh Bug  Fly Home ~

Haleigh Ann Marie Cummings
Haleigh's disappearance came on the heels of the Caylee Anthony case, as a matter of fact, the news broke as the nationally televised memorial for Caylee was starting in Orlando (70 miles away) . The similarities between the 2 girls brought instant media interest, and at first this case seemed that it may be an actual case of stranger child abduction.

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. During the first week or so,  LE also worked to rule out roughly 44 sex offenders who live within a 5-mile radius of the Cummings home.

Unlike the Anthony family, those close to the case Haleigh's mother Crystal Sheffield, her father Ronald and his girlfriend Misty made emotional public pleas and voluntarily took lie detector tests. Another thing different from the Anthony case was the police were quiet about releasing information, although everyone who took lie detector tests said they were told they had passed and no one was arrested.

The only other "clue" was that Misty said she might suspect her cousin Joe Overstreet from TN. Misty claimed that Joe molested her as a child and had left town the day Haleigh disappeared. There were also varying reports of a dispute between Ron and Joe over a gun Joe had stolen that was supposedly recovered before Haleigh went missing. Law Enforcement (LE) from FL went to TN and interviewed Joe but apparently didn't find evidence to arrest or focus on Joe as a person of interest.

As time went on LE said that the evidence wasn't matching up to Misty's statements and her statements were inconsistent. LE also said they didn't think this was a case of stranger abduction. Even though LE essentially cleared Haleigh's parents as suspects (they were on the bottom of the list) they both remained "favorite suspects' for many following the case .
The fact LE has released very little information regarding this case has given a lot of room for speculation.
I know I have personally had at least a dozen theories over the last year. There are only 2 theories left standing in my mind that make sense to me, but I will leave them in my mind because I just don't know enough about the evidence gathered by LE in this case to "fairly" outright accuse anyone. One thing is certain, many people across the world took this child into their hearts and took sides, pretty much along family lines, as to who abducted Haleigh.

                           ~Let's Make A Deal~

Hopefully soon, the PCSO will have enough evidence, physical and circumstantial,  to arrest those involved and prove in the courtroom what happened to little Haleigh.

This past Tuesday morning (April 13),there was a dramatic increase in activity in the year old case of the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings. Dozens of officers from several law enforcement agencies converged on the Shell Harbour boat ramp in South Putnam County, FL. The intensity of the search was similar to how law enforcement initially responded to Haleigh's disappearance. Haleigh's family on both sides were brought to the PCSO so that LE could inform them of the search rather than them hear about it from the media. Ronald Cummings was brought over from the Putnum County jail to the sheriff's office when LE met with the family, many of whom were said to be crying when they left.

The search was triggered by a tip the Putnam County Sheriff's Office received on Monday, said Lt. Johnny Greenwood, a spokesman for the department. As expected, authorities have been tight-lipped about what the tip specified. In the press release Greenwood said," Due to the sensitivity of this investigation, the name of the person providing the tip and the physical evidence alleged to be in this area will not be released ".

Immediately rumors started to fly that Misty (long named as the key to the investigation), her brother Tommy (who last fall, had placed himself at the trailer the night Haleigh went missing ) or Ron ( who had shown a propensity for a quick temper ) had started to talk in exchange for a plea deal in their drug cases. For most people, the fact that Ron was allowed to join his family at the sheriff's office seemed to lighten the suspicion on him somewhat although there are still those who suspect him.

On Wednesday, Misty was taken out to the search site on St. Johns river by LE which fueled the fire of a plea deal and then word came out "unofficially" that Tommy had been to the search site on Monday.Were they confessing and showing where Haleigh had been placed in the river? There were also reports of letters that Misty had written to her parents and brother in Massachusetts said to blame Tommy and Joe for taking Haleigh.
Another rumor that spread was that a person(s) had been taken into custody in the Haleigh Cummings case. On Wednesday PCSO issued another press release:

Satsuma Area Search for Missing Haleigh Cummings Continue 2010-4-14 by: Lt. Johnny Greenwood

Still acting on a lead received in the case of missing Haleigh Cummings, investigators are continuing the meticulous search for physical evidence in the St. Johns River near Satsuma, Florida. At this point, this search has failed to yield any items of evidentiary value in the case.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has received many media inquiries concerning a rumor that has uncontrollably spread throughout our community. The rumor that a subject is either currently being detained by law enforcement, or is in law enforcement custody related to the Haleigh Cummings case has been reported to the media. Sheriff Hardy wants the citizens of Putnam County and the media to know that this rumor is false. There is currently no one in law enforcement custody as the result of the investigation into Haleigh Cummings’ disappearance.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office will provide future releases when information in this case becomes available. Sheriff Hardy would like to again thank the citizens of Putnam County and the media for their support.
                        ~ A Race For The Reward ?~

Well....the PCSO may not want to disclose who made the tip, but on Wednesday morning a Former FBI agent named Steve Brown said in an interview ( here's a link to the video) with News4Jax  that he had solved the case on Monday and this was now a homicide investigation. Brown said that he was hired 10 months ago by Crystal Sheffield to investigate this case. Brown said the information he supplied PCSO led them to the St. John river to search for corroborating evidence to support eyewitness testimony..

On Thursday evening, Flora Hollars, Misty, Tommy's and Joe's grandmother appeared on "Issues" with Jane Velez Mitchell (JVM) and "Nancy Grace"(NG), both current event / news type shows on HLN. Flora Hollars' statements were a little inconsistent regarding who told her what and when between the 2 HLN appearances, but  it was the "way" she made a statement on "Issues" that raised my  hinky meter. Ms. Hollars told JVM, "I’m the reason they are searching down at that river. I’m the one that gave em the lead…I called the sheriff, I called crimestoppers, I called them all." It was like she was covering all her bases and the thought crossed my mind…is there still a $35,000 reward for leads to Haleigh? Hollars told several scenarios of what she has been told happened to Haleigh, but at the end she seemed to lay the blame on Joe. Her main mission in these appearances seemed to me,  to make the point Tommy confessed to her and she led the police to the river.

Below, I embedded a video of a Presser given by Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy on Thursday about the search. Sheriff Hardy announced the investigation is now a homicide investigation and confirmed there has been evidence collected at the scene that is being sent out to independent forensic labs for testing. He also confirmed that the search will wrap up at the St. Johns River location today, but the stressed they will continue following up on the leads that brought them to the river.

 While Sheriff Hardy still didn't want to disclose what the tip was that led them to search of this part of St. Johns River,  he would say....the tip that spurred the search did not come from Tennessee (where Flora Hollars lives).When asked if it came from the jail, Hardy wouldn't comment. (If Tommy truly did confess to his grandmother on the phone, the call would have been monitored by the jail and LE could well have been to Tommy's cell before Granny Hollars finished looking up the phone number for LE.) What are the odds that Steve Brown solved this case the same day Tommy fessed up to his granny? IDK? ~shrugging shoulders~

           ~It's Time for A Family Feud~

 One thing that has become apparent over the last 14 months is that a sense of  loyalty is not a strong value in the Croslin family. A few examples: Tommy told police he went to the mobile home the night Haleigh was taken and no one was home, in exchange for getting out of jail. Misty and Ron had a physical conflict with Tommy and Hank Sr. that ended in a restraining order against Tommy and an accusation of Misty and Ron placing a dead rat in the Croslin mailbox.Another example is when Misty was first arrested for trafficking drugs she told LE that she had seen items in her brother Tommy's home that were stolen property. Was she hoping for a get out of jail free card for that?

I have a feeling those examples are petty compared to where this family feud appears to be heading...... Misty is accusing her brother Tommy and  cousin Joe of abducting and killing Haleigh. Tommy has accused Joe of killing Haleigh. Granny Hollar accuses all 3 of her grandchildren of  various levels of involvement in Haleigh's death.. Overstreet's attorney says Joe was interviewed by detectives late Tuesday, and he denies any knowledge or involvement in the case.

Tommy's attorney, James Werter said Friday that Tommy Croslin Jr, "did not tell Flora Hollars anything about the investigation except to have his attorney contact and meet with him." The Putnam County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Croslin Jr. had called his grandmother on Sunday but couldn't address the contents of the conversation. It declined to release the tapes of the phone calls, saying the content was connected to the ongoing investigation.

Hollars also said she heard from Misty Croslin on Thursday, who gave more details about Haleigh being dropped into the river tied to a cinder block.However, her father, Hank Croslin Sr., said Misty Croslin "didn't tell Flo all that stuff."

Hank Croslin Sr. said,  "Tommy said he only asked Hollars to get in touch with other family members to arrange visits. At the time Hollars was the only one in the family with money in a telephone account to pay for collect calls from jail. I'm not saying he doesn't know anything," Croslin Sr. said, adding that Hollars may been repeating the content of letters Misty Croslin sent to her father and another brother in Massachusetts. He also said the reward money in the case - $35,000 - might be an influence."The only person who knows the truth is the police and the lawyers and them," he said.

All I can say is good luck to the police and lawyers sifting out the truth from this group. Once again, hopefully there will be some corroborating evidence to support the testimony of any of this family the state needs to put on the stand to get justice for Haleigh!.
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  1. Poor Haleigh.. Little cutie. She has no more earthly worries

    Those are some unhealthy looking relatives. (I'm not commenting on the aesthetics) Tommy's low set ears are indicative of a congenital problem, Joe and Misty's aren't quite as low set - but I wouldn't be surprised to hear there are known genetic problems in the family line. (Misty's claim that she never learned to read is just sad in this day and age) which would leave me to think uninvolved parenting was a major problem for the Croslin kids.

    Ron just looks mean - he has always looked mean IMO, except in the pictures with his kids - pictures of him with Haleigh show that he seemed to love her very much - even if he had not a clue how to be a parent. Let alone how to parent a child with Turner's Syndrome.

    I commented elsewhere just days after Misty had been in isolation, give her a little more time she will spill. This is not what I thought they were going to say tho. While her ODing on Oxi (as was rumored weeks ago) was sad and horrible - it would surely be a better fate than what we are hearing now.

    Thanks KFP for your insight and sensitivity.

  2. I know, it is so sad. I hope Haleigh didn't have to suffer. Anyone who had information about what happened and didn't report it should be prosecuted, severely. The heartache the people who loved Haleigh have been through and the expense to the county and state LE is enormous.

    I still don't think we have learned the truth of the matter yet, although Sheriff Hardy did seem to acknowledge in his presser (video embedded) that Haleigh most likely died at/near the St. Johns search area.

    I'm not well versed in congenital defects so I can't comment on that. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that several generations of this family have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb. That includes the Cummings and Sheffield families too.

    Misty was allowed to quit school in the 6th grade...or they just didn't pay attention. I do thing she can read though, she uses the computer and wrote those letters (Marinade Dave has one on his website)I'm pretty confident grammar wasn't a strong subject in her 6 years of schooling.

    It is sad there are so many parents who don't put their children's needs before their own.

  3. I read something she wrote and was surprised at how well she did compared to what I thought she meant - she commented to her mother in the jail vid that she was really going to use the prison time to better herself, she was finally going to learn to read. I assumed that meant she had a LD maybe dyslexia that went unchecked as a child, I didn't realize she had only gone to elementary school. - maybe she just meant she wanted to be able to read on an adult level? This was the vid with her mother shortly after the drug bust. When she was asking her mom to get her belongings back from the car belonging to her friend.

    6th grade... <<>>

  4. Oops sorry meant to share with you, have you played those tapes of the kids in jail talking to their parents? You are so right about the selling each other out. I'm sure Misty's dad was right when he said he couldn't get a job there - (in Putnam Co) he blamed it on name recognition as it related to Haleigh. I'm sure that's what it was - nothing to do with his own brushes with the law... <>

    They were absolutely living from day to day. No car, the clothes on their backs. Needing money for phone calls and to purchase anything like stamps and envelopes was a luxury. I can't imagine.

  5. Have you noticed when people go to jail, they swear off all bad habits,come to Jesus and will work to better themselves....most often 1st chance it's same ol same ol?

    In the video you referenced that Misty told her mom she was going to work to improve herself. She wasn't even going to smoke weed or cigarettes if she gets out, shes just going to stay with her mommy and daddy like she should have before. 1 or 3 visits later she had already smoked cigarettes when LE wanted to talk with her. LOL I'm not so much dissing her because she smoked, she is likely addicted to nicotine and in a very stressful situation just how predictable her behavior would not be any different if she got out of jail.
    (That's not going to happen anytime soon)
    Talk to you soon friend, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  6. First of all, I love your katfish image! I'm a cat lover btw.

    I've become emotionally wrapped up in the Caylee case; it makes me so mad about the steady stream of child abuse cases. It breaks my heart to hear about the next childs case and so on.

    It's great to read your blogs! Carry on, and justice and peace for these dear children.


    PS--I'm from Illinois, too.

  7. Welcome Susan from IL!
    I'm glad you stopped by and commented. :) Katfish is a breakdown of my name, but I love cats too, and dogs, and birds, and rabbits....I have a zoo. LOL

    All cases involving children are sad, but it really bothers me so many children have to suffer or lose their lives because of choices their parents make.

    Are you familiar with the Nicholas Sheley case?

    Stop by any time!

  8. Hi again. No, I'm not familiar with the Nicholas case. Mainly been keeping up with Caylee...wanting justice for her.

    BTW, love your zoo. We have 3 cats and 2 dogs!


  10. its not a cold case.. so they wont come look at it.. I would call another show