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Tommy Croslin's Attorney Says Croslin said Haleigh Likely Strangled

4:52 PM, Aug 19, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Attorney Says Haleigh Cummings Likely Was Strangled

  • Tommy Croslin
  • Attorney Jim Werter
  • Joe Overstreet

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Tommy Croslin, one of three people believed to have been with Haleigh Cummings the night she disappeared, told investigators he thinks she was strangled by his cousin, according to his attorney.

Attorney James Werter said Croslin told authorities in April that he believed Joe Overstreet strangled Haleigh after losing his temper in February 2009.

Croslin was sentenced to 15 years in prison this month on unrelated charges.

Overstreet, Croslin's cousin, was reportedly looking for a gun that belonged to Haleigh's father, Ronald, but couldn't find it.

"The gun wasn't there. Joe Overstreet lost his temper and took or did something to Haleigh that evening," said Werter, citing Croslin's account of the night.

Werter said Croslin told authorities this in April, which led to a re-intensified search for the missing girl in the water near their Satsuma home.

"Tommy rode with (Joe Overstreet) to where Joe Overstreet disposed of the body off that dock, which was the subject of search in April," said Werter.

Werter said while Croslin claimed to be with Overstreet that night, he did not participate. 

Earlier this week, after the "no contest" plea by Misty Croslin on her unrelated charges, her attorney told her side of the story. Misty Croslin, Tommy Croslin's brother, was in the home babysitting Haleigh and her younger brother.

She said Tommy Croslin and Overstreet came in looking for the gun, then went after Haleigh while she hid.

Misty said Haleigh was screaming and fighting back, then became quiet; she heard the door to the house open and close, then the door to a van open and close.

She also said she saw Overstreet put Haleigh in a bag. Haleigh has been the subject of an Amber Alert ever since.

Werter said his client has not had contact with his sister, making each story more believable.

"The two of these people have not been in contact with each other while in jail, so it was not like they are collaborating on stories," said Werter. "It gives it more credibility through there may be variances. That is a normal thing with different witnesses seeing different things."

The information about Tommy Croslin came after Werter spoke about his client's reaction to his prison sentence.

He said Croslin was "shocked" at his recent sentence of 15 years in prison on two drug charges, one for possession and one for trafficking.

Werter plans to appeal the sentence. He said Tommy and his sister have had no contact since their arrest in January on the drug charges for which Tommy was sentenced, and the fact that both of them tell the same story means it is true.

First Coast News tried to contact Overstreet's attorney Shawn Sirgo in Nashville, Tenn. Overstreet lives in that area. However, Sirgo's staff said there was no comment.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office, which is handling the Haleigh case, also is not commenting.

In the past, authorities have maintained Haleigh is not alive, but won't specify why they believe that. Haleigh's family meanwhile, contends that she is alive.


First Coast News

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