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Investigators search river for missing Fla. girl

Investigators search a river for a 5-year-old girl who disappeared from her father's mobile home more than a year ago.
Haleigh Cummings
Haleigh Cummings, 5, of Satsuma, Fla., is seen in a photo from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff would not say why a river was being searched on Tuesday.Anonymous / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Investigators searched a river Tuesday for a 5-year-old girl who disappeared from her father's mobile home more than a year ago.

Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy would not say why the river was being searched. He said he met with members of Haleigh Cummings' family Tuesday afternoon, but he would not say what he told them.

"The conversations we had were between me and the family," said Hardy, who also said Haleigh has not been found.

Teams planned to search through the night for the blonde, curly-haired girl. She disappeared from her father's doublewide mobile home in Satsuma, a rural community equidistant from Orlando to the south and Jacksonville to the north, in February 2009.

Her father's 17-year-old live-in girlfriend, Misty Croslin, was babysitting at the time. She told investigators she woke up at 3 a.m. Feb. 10 to find the girl gone and a back door propped open with a brick.

The sheriff's office has questioned Croslin's credibility, saying investigators don't believe Haleigh was abducted by a stranger. Authorities said Croslin failed to provide a detailed account of the late evening and early morning hours and called the account of her evening activities "sketchy."

During a quick news conference Tuesday, Hardy would not say whether he has switched from a missing persons case to a homicide investigation.

"That is a decision that will be made later," said Hardy, who also said Putnam investigators were questioning Croslin again Tuesday. She and Ronald Cummings, Haleigh's father, remain in custody after they were arrested in January in a drug sting. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Sheriff's deputies blocked access on a main road to the St. Johns River during Tuesday's search, and TV news helicopters hovered overhead.

Haleigh's case was somewhat overshadowed by that of another missing girl — Caylee Anthony, the 2-year-old whose young mother has been charged in her murder. Caylee's memorial service was held just hours after Haleigh was reported missing.

Investigators followed thousands of leads and searched the heavily wooded community on foot, with doors and by air via plane and helicopter. They also contacted all the sexual predators living in the area to eliminate them as suspects and searched the nearby St. Johns River by boat.

Ronald Cummings and Croslin married about a month after Haleigh disappeared and then appeared on NBC's "Today" show while on their honeymoon. They are no longer together.