Here’s What I Think About…the Haleigh Cummings Case

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Let me start by saying that all I know about this case is what I read in the media.  I do not know the family personally, and live a few thousand miles away from them.  This article is my opinion on the case, and ONLY MY opinion.  I am a former police detective, so unfortunately I seem to have an opinion on all cases like this, and writing about such cases seems to help me come to terms with it.

Five-year-old Haleigh Cummings of Florida disappeared from her home in the middle of the night while she was being cared for by her father’s 17-year-old girlfriend, who was also there caring for Haleigh’s younger brother while their father worked.

As any good police detective could tell you, when a child is taken, the suspicious eye of the law almost always falls on those that were closest to the child, and there’s a reason for that; most of the time someone close to the child is responsible.  So, it came as no surprise to me that all those close to the child were asked to take a polygraph test.  Haleigh’s father announced in the press that he and his girlfriend had taken the test and had passed it.  Now, they may have taken it, but careful analyzing of the test would have to be done by the experts, and those experts aren’t likely to share that with those taking the test, for reasons known by law enforcement officers.

A polygraph is an instrument that measures and records how a person’s body responds to questions in a controlled setting.  All questions are answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” and the test is mainly given to eliminate suspects so that officials can place their attention elsewhere.

So, with that being said about the polygraph test, the father’s statement that he and his girlfriend had “passed” means nothing to me.

As I understand, the Cummings family lived in a mobile home in a rural section of Putnam County in Florida.  You can bet that Haleigh was not taken in the middle of the night by a complete stranger who just happened to be checking out this particular mobile home, where he found a sleeping five-year-old girl and just decided on a whim to grab her and go.  No, whoever took this little girl, was familiar with this family, their home, their children and their schedule.

Tearful pleas by the mother also mean nothing to me, as I recall Susan Smith pleading in the media for the safe return of her two toddler sons, whom she had strapped in their carseats in her car, rolling the car into a lake, drowning both boys.  Tears streamed while she told an outrageous lie about a Black man who took her car with the boys in it.  She didn’t get the death penalty, because South Carolina didn’t allow it at the time, but no one in history has deserved it more.

I am writing this article on February 15, 2009, and Haleigh has been missing for almost a week.  As I first read in the original article on her disappearance, any reason that a person would take a five-year-old girl is “ugly,”  and I expect the outcome of this case to be about as ugly as ugly can be.

I hope I’m wrong.

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