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Cummings Family Faces Holidays Without Haleigh

7:22 PM, Nov 26, 2009   |    comments
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PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- Christmas lights are newly strung at Haleigh Cummings' father's and great-grandmother's home in Welaka in Putnam County.

However, the banner with the missing child's picture on it in the front yard may be the most important addition.

Annette Sykes, Haleigh's great-grandmother, said her family is having a hard time this Thanksgiving.

"It's really hard to give thanks when part of your heart and family is not here and you don't know where they are," Sykes said as a tear rolled down her cheek.

Sykes said her family doesn't feel much like decorating for the holidays, but it was important to do it for Haleigh's younger brother.

"If it weren't for Junior, we probably wouldn't," Sykes explained, "but he has to have some kind of normal life."

As for the investigation, Johnny Greenwood with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said detectives and an FDLE agent are reviewing tips they have received about the Haleigh Cummings case.

At Hill's Hardware in Pomona Park in southern Putnam County, the seasonal message on an outdoor sign changes. However, the part that reads "Pray for Haleigh" has been up since February when she disappeared.

That's sad for John Woods, the employee who was inserting letters to spell "Happy Thanksgiving."

Woods said, "It's real sad. I'm real sad because I just had a little baby girl. I'd be sad if my girl come up missing."

Rodney Sheffield of Hill's Hardware told First Coast News, "We have been through a lot in Palatka looking for [Haleigh] and so forth. Our hope is they'll find her, hopefully alive and if not, at least it'll bring closure."

He looked at the sign and added, "One more prayer may help."

Back at Sykes' home in Welaka, red ribbons are tied to the trees. They're not for Christmas. Those ribbons have been up for months there. They are ribbons of hope for a little girl's safe return.

"Somebody's got to know something, and that person can come forward" without being identified, Sykes said.

As Christmas lights line her home and while telephone poles along the highway don festive lights as well, the signs of the holiday season seem to be all over Putnam County.

But there's still no sign of the little girl.

Haleigh was 5-years-old when she vanished Feb. 10 from her father's mobile home, just outside the community of Satsuma.

Misty Croslin, Haleigh's father's ex-wife, was babysitting Haleigh that night when she said she awoke about 3 a.m. and noticed the kitchen light on. The back door was propped open with a brick and Haleigh was missing.

Despite extensive searches and a $35,000 reward, Haleigh has not been found.

If you have information that can help investigators, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and could receive a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.

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