PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- When Haleigh Cummings disappeared a year ago, Jeff Hardy had just been elected the sheriff of Putnam County.
"It was a challenge dealing with all the media, national and local media, Hardy said. "It was overwhelming if you want to know the truth, but we had to deal with it."
Sitting in his office Wednesday, Hardy spoke to First Coast News in a one-on-one interview about the Haleigh Cummings case.
Hardy said the investigation has been difficult on his staff, himself, and the little girl's family.
HARDY: In my 22 years of law enforcement, this is sad. This is one of the saddest cases I've ever seen.
FIRST COAST NEWS: Sad because you're dealing with a missing girl or is it more than that?
HARDY: It's more than that. Just the whole situation from day-one is sad. What led up to these events is sad.
Last month, Haleigh's father -- Ronald Cummings -- and Haleigh's babysitter, Misty Croslin were arrested on drug trafficking charges. They are both currently in jail with million dollar bonds.
Hardy stressed that the drug investigation is separate from the missing girl investigation, but that detectives working the Haleigh case would use the opportunity to talk to those who have been arrested.
18-year-old Misty Croslin has been interviewed many times over the past year about Haleigh's disappearance. Investigators continue to say she's the key to solving the case.
FIRST COAST NEWS: Many people have said, "why can't they [investigators] break that that teenage girl?"
HARDY: Because we have laws in this state and we have interviewed her extensively. You cannot force an individual to talk. So it's got to be a matter of time. It's a waiting game at this point.
Hardy said he has a team of detectives still working on the Haleigh case.
FIRST COAST NEWS: Are you any closer than you were a year ago to finding Haleigh? Or even a month ago?
HARDY: All I can say is time will tell. Time will tell. That's all I can say , as far as how close we are to solving this case.
Hardy still asks for tips and information about the case.
If you know anything that could help investigators find Haleigh, please call Crimestoppers at 1-888-277-8477.
First Coast News