Cops search for girl who vanished from bed
SATSUMA, Fla. - Investigators were treating the disappearance of a 5-year-old north Florida girl as an abduction and continued searching for the child Thursday.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office said investigators assume Haleigh Cummings was abducted because house-to-house searches of the neighborhood Wednesday found no evidence that she wandered away.
Police said the mobile home where she lives had no signs of forced entry, but a back door was open.
Haleigh's father Ronald Cummings also said he didn't believe she had left their home in the middle of the night.
"I know somebody took her. I know for a fact she didn't wander off — she's afraid of the dark," Cummings told NBC's TODAY on Thursday.
Haleigh was last seen Monday night in her father's mobile home in Satsuma. The rural community along the St. Johns River is about 70 miles north of Orlando.
She was reported missing when her father returned home from work early Tuesday. His girlfriend had woken up and discovered the child had vanished.
NBC News reported that Cummings told police Haleigh had been sharing a bed with his girlfriend. He described whoever was responsible for Haleigh's disappearance as a "sorry piece of trash".
The girlfriend, 17-year-old Misty Croslin, told a 911 dispatcher that a back door that was usually locked had been propped open by a brick.
"I just got home from work and my 5-year-old daughter is gone," Cummings told a dispatcher on a 911 call. "If I find whoever has my daughter before you all do, I'm killing them. I don't care if I spend the rest of my life in prison."
Crystal Sheffield, the missing girl's mother, added: "She's a wonderful kid. I just want her home. Whoever has her, please just bring her back. Please."
Cummings described his daughter as "playful, sweet and well-mannered".
Sheriff Jeff Hardy told TODAY that searches for Haleigh by air, ground and water would continue Thursday. He said officers were "following up numerous leads".
Investigators also were interviewing the 44 sex offenders living within 5 miles of Cummings' home.