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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Haleigh Cummings

Yet another beautiful toddler has gone missing. Haleigh Cummings lived with her younger brother "Junior" (I am not making that up - although Bubba would have been better) and her father in a double wide mobile home located near a body of water in a secluded area in Florida. I am unsure if this was a mobile home park or if they lived on private land. 24 year old Ronald Cummings had a 17 year old girlfriend (Misty) who had been living with them for about 4 months. Ronald worked nights and his girlfriend watched the children for him at night. She said she was lying in bed with Haley and when she awoke a few minutes before Ronald was due home, Haley was gone and the back door to the trailer was propped open with a cinder block.

When dad got home and noticed Haley gone and the back door open, he called 911 and when they kept asking him questions (as they always do), he became irate when they suggested maybe she wandered outside. He vehemently denied that she would do that because she was afraid of the dark.

According to Police Report, Haleigh has Turner Syndrome. I cannot comprehend this (uneducated)Father and a 17 year old girlfriend dealing well with a condition such as this. I am also having a problem with the conflicting stories from Misty and Ronald. Crystal Sheffield (Haleigh and Junior's biological mother) is 19 which means she was 14 and Ronald was 20 when their daughter was born. Apparently this man has a history of statutory rape. Based on this, my gut would tell me that something is not right here. However, that gut instinct would be coming from a person raised in an upper middle class (and intact)family.

My grandparents had tons of sharecroppers (for those of you who don't know what that is - look it up) who lived on their lands the whole time I was growing up. I had occasion to observe them, interact with them (on a very limited basis) and I listened to my parents and grandparents talk about them. Although I'm not an expert on this breed of people (and they are a different breed all into themselves), I think I know enough about them to realize that their culture (if you will) and mine are vastly different.

In their cultures young girls either find a man to move in with who will support them, become waitresses at a truck stop, sell drugs, prostitute or have a passel of kids for the welfare checks. Those are their options.

As for the men, especially the ones with kids to raise, they latch on to the first warm body they can find to move in with them so they will have a full time (and virtually free) babysitter, cook, maid, and lover.

Misty probably comes from a family that is so dysfunctional (and probably abusive) and poor that living with Ronald in a double wide was like moving to a penthouse in Manhattan would be for me.

It should also be pointed out that in their culture girls grow up MUCH faster than in mine. They have absolutely NO choice in the matter. Do you think for a second that any one of them daydreamed about living in a trailer taking care of 2 children when they were kids?? Hell, no! They had the same dreams that we all have. It's just when you live in that culture you learn quick and early that in order to survive, you have to do what you have to do.

When I was 17 I was going to proms and stressing out about if I could get an appointment with my favorite beautician to get my nails and hair done before going home to beg my parents for permission (and money) to go to the mall and hang out with my friends. Moving in with a much older man to be his lover was the furthest thing from my 17 year old mind. I shudder to even imagine telling my parents that I was packing up to go live in a double wide with a man!! LORD help me!

Ronald Cummings had just been issued a court summons because little Haleigh (in Kindergarten) had been absent so much from school. DHR was also involved for this reason. The police state there have been no reports that they have had to visit the property in the past for any reason.

Remember Misty has only been living with them for a short time and she is only 17. If dad has to work nights getting home in time (and with enough energy) to get Haleigh up out of bed, washed, dressed, fed and off to school may just be more than this man of humble origin can handle which would explain her lengthy absences from school. Men of this nature don't value education much anyway (especially for girls) so in his mind, what's the big deal if she misses kindergarten? Misty probably stays up till all hours of the morning watching MTV and can't be bothered to do it for him so Haleigh stays home that day.

I'll eat crow if I have to later, but I don't think it's the dad. I think people are too eager to leap to that conclusion because these people appear low-class and have some dysfunctions. The man we heard on that 911 call was not trying to make himself look good -- he was venting uncontrolled frustration and rage. Plus, to the police he blamed "my dumb bitch girlfriend" for leaving the door open, and I'd think if they were in on it together they'd support each other a bit better. In two different pleas to the kidnapper, he's stressed that he doesn't want revenge. That makes me think he really believes someone out there has Haleigh and he is trying to affect how that person thinks and acts.

Reports that Misty and/or Ronald may have killed Haleigh out of frustration that she wet the bed again could not have happened according to the girlfriend's family and some AC guy that all say were at the home the afternoon before the disappearance from like 5pm to 5:30pm. After that time Dad went to work and work says he was there the whole time.

One of the weird things is that the girlfriend just happened to wake up 5 minutes before the Dad came home from work and find Haleigh missing. I think it is possible that the girlfriend went to a neighbors house or outside to meet someone for some reason. (Don't want to sound harsh but knowing the general area, the age of the girlfriend and the general circumstances of the living arrangements) the girlfriend may have gone out to smoke pot without the Dad. She probably would have left the door open so she wouldn't get caught coming in or so she could hear the kids if they needed her. She came back in before the Dad came home only to find Haleigh gone. She is trying to cover her tracks because she wasn't even in the house when she should have been.

I know not everyone in rural north central Florida gets high but MANY do and she fits the stereotype and if you factor this in then you see why some things just don't look right.

There have been reports that in excess of 25 convicted and registered sex offenders live within 2 square miles of that trailer. 25! Remember Jessica Lunsford? She was abducted from her grandparents trailer in the middle of the night as they all slept and of course, her family were prime suspects. They later found her body buried in a shallow grave under the front porch of one of their neighbors - a convicted sex offender.

Or what about Cynthia and David Dowaliby? On September 14, 1988, 7 year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was kidnapped from her bed and the working class Dowaliby's were actually tried for her murder! David was convicted, their remaining children taken away from them (one within hours of its birth) until Cynthia got a law professor involved and they were able to prove David's innocence.

It's dangerous ground when we judge folks by what they do for a living or where they live. Especially when we are accusing them of murder. Maybe Ronald and/or Misty did indeed kill little Haliegh - but then again - what if they didn't???

But that's just me.


Fiona D. said...

Theoretically speaking, if the girlfriend WERE home at the time Hayleigh went missing how did she not notice. If the girl were sleeping right next to her, she would have heard her wake up. Or, would she have not heard someone come into the room and take the child?

There is usually a crawl space under the mobile home (especially in Florida) and the girlfriend would have heard someone walking around--if not heard Hayleigh herself walking around in the middle of the night.

Sorry, their stories don't add up. I think the girlfriend is involved somehow. That's my gut.

Ernie said...

When a person is 17 and has no children of their own, they usually sleep like rocks. Funny how having children turns rock sleepers into feather sleepers but just as soon as my children were grown - back to sleeping like a rock for me! I really think she was outside (which would explain the cinder block in the door - so she could hear the kids if they woke up) and she wasn't paying attention and someone came in through the front door, took her and left the same way. If she's outside (or even left the premises for a time period, she wouldn't have heard anyone walking around because she was probably chatting/laughing it up herself). OR, she lost her mind when the child wet the bed yet again and accidentally killed her but I really don't think so. At any rate I fervently do not believe the father had anything to do with it. I'm really curious as to how this plays out.

Fiona D. said...

According to America's Most Wanted, Haleigh was sleeping in the same room as Junior and girlfriend. NOBODY woke up? And, according to the father, the back door hadn't been used since they moved in and remained locked.

Ernie said...

The plot thickens! From the first of this I felt girlfriend definitely had something to hide. I just thought it was that she was not inside the trailer where she was supposed to be - and that very well may be. At least that would explain why she didn't wake up. However, she may be hiding the fact that SHE contributed (in part or whole) to Haleigh's disappearance and/or death. Stay tuned.