It’s one of the most enduring mysteries in Northern Florida.
On February 9, 2009, Haleigh Cummings came home from kindergarten, like any other day. Shortly after the 5-year-old girl got home, her father went to work the evening shift at his job, leaving his 17-year-old live-in girlfriend, Misty Croslin, to care for his daughter. According to several accounts, the afternoon and evening went well: the little girl rode her bike, had dinner with her little brother, and then went to sleep around 8 p.m.
She was never seen again.
When Haleigh’s dad, Ronald, got home from work around 3 a.m., Misty told him that she had just discovered the girl missing from her bed. Ronald Cummings called 911.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office found no sign of forced entry in the family’s double-wide trailer, but said the back door may have been unlocked and propped open with a cinder block.
For weeks, multiple law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers searched for the missing girl. Thousands of tips poured in from around the country, but police never found a trace of the little girl. Police say Croslin’s story changed significantly over the years, but she has never been charged in the girl’s disappearance.
As the mystery went cold, Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin got into unrelated trouble. According to Putnam county records, they were arrested on drug charges for having 330 tablets of oxycodone and hydrocodone in their car. Misty is serving 25 years in prison; Ronald was sentenced to 15 years.
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The case of Haleigh Cummings will be revisited on Real Life Nightmare, a special docuseries on HLN. The show will present exclusive crime scene photos and new information from lead detectives. The show has also located never-before-seen video of Misty Croslin talking to investigators about the shirt Haleigh was wearing. (Some of the exclusive video can be seen above.)
Haleigh would now be 15 years old. She is still missing — and her family still holds out hope that she will someday be found alive.
“I just kept thinking it’s going to be the next (tip),” Haleigh’s grandmother, Teresa Neves told News4Jax.com earlier this year. “It will happen. God’s going to bring her home. Somebody knows. You know somebody knows. She just didn’t disappear into thin air.”
Real Life Nightmare will air on HLN on Saturday, November 2, at 8pm EST.