Sheriff Jeff Hardy
PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- Haleigh Cummings is likely dead and authorities are now considering her disappearance a homicide, police said today.
Tips obtained during interviews have led various law enforcement agencies who have been searching for the girl to believe Haleigh is no longer alive, said Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy.
He added no arrests have been made but persons of interest have been identified.
"At this point, I'm going to say I'm comfortable calling it a homicide," Hardy said during a brief news conference this afternoon.
The 5-year-old disappeared in Feb. 2009, while in the care of Misty Croslin, the last person known to have seen Haleigh, according to police.
Dive teams have searched for three days in the St. Johns River south of Satsuma. Hardy said items were recovered from the river but it is unknown at this time if those items are related to the case.
"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," Hardy added when questioned about the search.
He said they plan to wrap up the search scene today at 6 p.m., and said the items will be taken to several independent forensic labs for testing. He's hoping for an arrest.
"Let's hope and pray that we can bring this thing to a logical conclusion for the family," Hardy said as he ended the news conference.
First Coast News