Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

MISSING: 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings

Unwelcome Help

Haleigh Cummings
Haleigh Cummings

When dawn came the day Haleigh Cummings was reported missing, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office organized a massive ground, air, and water search by law enforcement.

As word spread, hundreds of volunteers joined the effort to find the missing 5 year old.

Satsuma lies 80 miles north of Orlando, where 2-year-old Caylee Anthony had disappeared in June 2008. Caylee's skeletal remains were found in December, stuffed into a plastic trash bag, with remnants of duct tape still wrapped around her skull. Prosecutors have charged her mother, Casey Anthony, with first-degree murder.

When news broke about Haleigh's disappearance, Caylee's grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, rushed to help Ronald Cummings.

Caylee (center) with her grandparents George and Cynthia Anthony.
Caylee (center) with her grandparents
George and Cynthia Anthony.

"We're just here to help in any way we can," George Anthony said during a television interview. "I was just offering some support, some moral support, and some ways that he could possibly bring more awareness for his child."

But the couple's offer of assistance was rejected. Ronald Cummings said he would accept help from anyone — except the Anthonys.

Through an attorney, Cummings issued a written statement: "The family of Ronald Cummings, father of Haleigh Cummings, wishes to make it clear that they do not want any involvement by George and Cindy Anthony in the continuing search for Haleigh Cummings," the statement read. "The Anthonys have their own agenda, as witnessed by their recent media tour. The facts relating to the death of Caylee Anthony, which resulted in the first degree murder charges against Casey Anthony, are in no way similar to Haleigh's disappearance."

Cindy Anthony reacted strongly, telling CBS: "When your child is missing you take any bit of help that you can. You don't turn anybody away. To him [Ronald Cummings], I say, you made a mistake. We're the ones that got national attention for their daughter the first night because I was on the phone with national media."