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Authorities Plan to Brief Public Today on Day 3 of Search for Haleigh Cummings

2:58 PM, Apr 15, 2010   |    comments
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SATSUMA, Fla. -- Authorities plan to update the public this afternoon on the third day of the search for Haleigh Cummings at the St. Johns River.

A steady stream of investigators, dive teams and police officers drove to the dock. The number of people on the search Thursday morning numbered well over 30.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office once again sent its underwater search team, in addition to officers from Clay, St. Johns and Putnam counties.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement also sent its evidence truck.

The neighborhood near the public dock on Shell Harbour Drive is still under police security. No one except for residents and investigators is allowed inside. Two boaters trying to get to the dock were rerouted and told to use a different one.

Misty Croslin, the former stepmother of Haleigh Cummings, appeared at the search for the missing 5-year-old Wednesday.

Investigators this afternoon at the search scene on the St. Johns River south of Satsuma said they had found nothing of value in the search for Haleigh. An undisclosed tip led searchers early Tuesday to a boat ramp a few miles south of the home where the then-5-year-old girl was last seen.

The Sentinel, citing WKMG-6, reported a woman in a jail uniform who looked like Croslin was led to the edge of the dock around 6 p.m. where officials have been searching for Haleigh who disappeared in Feb. 2009.

Police have said Croslin was the last person to see Haleigh alive, and that she knows more than she is saying about the night Haleigh vanished.   

Dive crews have been on the scene since Tuesday.

Lt. Johnny Greenwood with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office said yesterday, "This search has failed to yield any items of evidentiary value in the case."

Greenwood also addressed a rumor that someone had been arrested.

"Sheriff (Jeff) Hardy wants the citizens of Putnam County and the media to know that this rumor is false. There is currently no one in law enforcement custody as the result of the investigation into Haleigh Cummings' disappearance."

At least 25 investigators came to the dock area at the end of Shell Harbour Road early yesterday. All police, and even people who live in the neighborhood, must check in and out at a security checkpoint.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement mobile crime lab also arrived.

The media isn't allowed down Shell Harbour Road, but the search is visible from docks down the river, and search boats have been patrolling the area near the dock.

The search reached a level not seen in months Tuesday as an undisclosed tip led searchers to an area of the St. Johns River at a public boat ramp south of Satsuma.

"No, we haven't found Haleigh," Hardy said Tuesday, but he vowed to search for "as long as it takes."


Hardy said deputies from his office spoke with many members of Haleigh's family Tuesday. Facts on those conversations remain scarce, and Hardy reminded everyone that the focus is on the little girl and her family.

"Be patient with us," he said Tuesday. "Let us go ahead and do our job."

Private investigator Steven Brown said after 10 months working on the Haleigh case, he knows what happened to the little girl.

He was hired by Crystal Sheffield, Haleigh's mother, and said he turned over his findings to investigators Monday and soon after the PCSO started its search in Satsuma.

Brown said he now knows exactly what happened in the trailer where Haleigh disappeared in February 2009. He would not say who was responsible for taking the girl but said there will be an arrest soon.

"I know what happened inside the trailer; I know what happened to Haleigh. I know," said Brown. "And all this information has been made available to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the FDLE and the FBI." 

First Coast News

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