Exclusive: Missing Girl's Mother, Grandmother Speak Out

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," February 11, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, where is little Haleigh? She's only 5, a little girl, and her whereabouts a mystery, a terrifying mystery. With every tick of the clock, fear intensifies. Now, here's what we know. At 3:00 AM Monday morning, the girlfriend of Haleigh's father notices the girl missing from the bed the two were sharing. About 25 minutes later, Haleigh's father reportedly comes home from work. His girlfriend tells him Haleigh is gone. Then two minutes later, at 3:27 AM, the girlfriend calls 911 and reports Haleigh missing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just woke up, and our back door was open, and I can't find my daughter.

911 OPERATOR: Can't find what?


911 OPERATOR: OK. What's your address?


911 OPERATOR: What's the numerical?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The numerical? What's that?

911 OPERATOR: The number. Green Lane?


911 OPERATOR: OK, when did you last see her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just, like -- you know, it was about 10:00 o'clock. She was sleeping (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: OK. How old is your daughter?


911 OPERATOR: OK. What was she last seen wearing?


911 OPERATOR: Ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was in her pajamas. We were sleeping.

911 OPERATOR: OK. All right. You said your back door was wide open?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, with a brick. Like, there was a brick on the floor. Like, when I went to sleep, the door was not like that.

911 OPERATOR: OK, the back door -- listen to me. Your back door was wide open? What are you talking about a brick?


911 OPERATOR: What is the brick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's on the back door, on the -- on the stairs (INAUDIBLE) like, a walkway?

911 OPERATOR: And there was a brick laying there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's still there.


911 OPERATOR: We got them coming. Tell him we got them coming.



VAN SUSTEREN: Since that 911 call, a massive search has fanned out, looking for the toddler by land, by water and door to door, but no results. Joining us by phone is Putnam County sheriff Jeff Hardy. Good evening, Sheriff. And last night, or at least some point after that 911 call was received and sheriffs reported to the home, I understand some tracks were seen, sir?

SHERIFF JEFF HARDY, PUTNAM COUNTY: Greta, are you talking about the bloodhounds and a little bit of the tracking? Is that what you're referring to?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, and there was also apparently a footprint in the dirt. I don't know if that was a recent print or whether that was an old one. But what can you tell me about efforts to at least search to see whether or not you can determine where the child may have gone?

HARDY: Greta, we called in a team of bloodhounds, and they -- several different bloodhound units. And they came out. And I'm sure you know these bloodhounds, their noses are very sensitive, and they did follow some tracking, but we don't know exactly how old the tracks could have been. And as far as the footprint that you're talking about, that's news to me. I don't know of any footprint at this point.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I think what it was, was some sort of -- at least, there was one report there was some -- some sort of footprint or step in the dirt that might have been the child's, and nothing more. But we're hearing lots of different information. And obviously, Sheriff, you're the one on the story, so I'll defer to you on that. All right, in terms of the child missing, have there been any tips that the child has been spotted in the last 24 hours?

HARDY: No, ma'am, we don't have any tips, but we are following up on all leads that we're receiving. In fact, we're in the middle of conducting several interviews as we speak right now, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of -- the person who first reported the child missing was the girlfriend to the father. Her name is Misty. She was -- she apparently had gone -- she had last seen the child about 10:00 PM the night before and that the child was sleeping in the same bed with her? Is that correct?

HARDY: That's what she's telling us, Greta, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was any -- was the -- was there another child in the bed, as well? Because I know there's another child in the home.

HARDY: No, there was a brother in the home, a younger brother.

VAN SUSTEREN: But he wasn't in the same bed with the girlfriend and the missing child?

HARDY: No, ma'am. He was -- I believe he was in another room, another bed or another -- another bedding area. I don't believe he was on the same bed, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So according to least what I hear, and correct me if I'm wrong, she wakes up or something about 3:00 o'clock, notices the child missing, but a phone call is not made for 27 minutes to 911. Is that correct?

HARDY: Well, I can verify the fact that our 911 call did come in at 3:27 AM. As far as exactly the timeline of when she woke up and discovered the child missing, I don't know. She's saying it is some time after 3:00.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is the girlfriend a person of interest to you at this point?

HARDY: Greta, we're not ruling out anybody. You know, we have teams of law enforcement officers out here right now. We've continued our grounds searches by air and by water. We still have dive teams. We had them out here today. Again, the FBI's out here assisting us with other -- just numerous local and state officials and officers from across northeast Florida. So we're not ruling anybody out at this point.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sheriff, thank you, sir. And good luck, sir.

HARDY: And thank you for your time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us live from Florida, Haleigh's mother, Crystal Sheffield, and the toddler's grandmother, Marie Griffis. Crystal, I know you that you're terrible distressed and worried this evening. Do you -- is there any likelihood in your mind that this child simply just got up and walked off?

CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD, MOTHER: No, there is not. She would not do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, when was the last time you saw your daughter?

SHEFFIELD: Two weeks ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you spoken to her in the last two weeks?

SHEFFIELD: No, I have not.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you saw her, did she indicate or say to you anything to suggest there were problems in the home? I know that she's living with her father, or staying with her father and her father's girlfriend. Did she say there were any problems in the home?


VAN SUSTEREN: Marie, when was the last time that you saw your grandchild?

MARIE GRIFFIS, GRANDMOTHER: It was two weeks ago when they got their visitation to come stay with us (INAUDIBLE) We pick them up Friday night 6:00 o'clock and we return them Sunday at 6:00 o'clock.

VAN SUSTEREN: Marie, do you live in the area or do you live out of state?

GRIFFIS: We live in Florida, but it's Baker County, Glenn St. Mary (ph), Florida. We live about an hour and 45 minutes from here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Marie, do you know of any problems in that home?

GRIFFIS: In the past, Haleigh and Junior have told us that, you know, they've been hit and stuff like that, but up to this point, everything was fine.

VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, have you spoken to the father of your child or his girlfriend in the last 24 hours?

SHEFFIELD: I spoke to him yesterday. I have not spoken to his girlfriend.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did he say to you?

SHEFFIELD: He just said that -- he told me he was sorry and that if he would have been home from work that it would have never happened.

VAN SUSTEREN: Marie, what do you think has happened? I know that there are a lot of theories, a lot of sex offenders in the area. What are you sort of -- you know, where is your suspicion tonight, Marie?

GRIFFIS: My suspicions is why is it two children was in the bed with this 17-year-old girl, and somebody comes into the home and picks a child up that's laying right next to you and you don't know where she went. You get up and go to the bathroom and come back and she's not there. Well, was she there when she got up and went to the bathroom? Why don't we have that information? What happened? It don't take but 15, 20 seconds to go to the bathroom, and it's right there in the bedroom, also. So I wonder what role Misty plays in this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever met her, Marie?

GRIFFIS: I have never officially been introduced to her. I saw her in Ronald's car one weekend when we took Haleigh and Junior back to their dad on a Sunday, and she was sitting in the car. And I don't know who she is, never spoke to her. All I know is Haleigh and Junior told me that they liked her, that she was nice to them.

GRIFFIS: Crystal, do you know the girlfriend at all? I mean, have you ever, like, had any conversations with her in any depth? Do you know what kind of person she is, anything about her?

SHEFFIELD: No, I don't. I've talked to her. She seemed like a really nice person, but I've never sat down and had a conversation with her. And the kids told me that...

VAN SUSTEREN: Marie, I don't mean to...

SHEFFIELD: ... They loved her.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long, Crystal, has she been in the children's lives?

SHEFFIELD: Probably four to six months? I'm not really sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Marie, I don't want to -- you know, because I'm asking questions about the girlfriend (INAUDIBLE) you know, think that she's the only person I'm curious about. I mean, obviously, everybody -- we're curious about everybody tonight. Do you know anything, Marie, about any neighbors at all, people who live nearby that have shown any particular interest to this child at all, Marie, do you know?

GRIFFIS: The only thing we know about any neighbors is there were some kids that lived next door that Haleigh and Junior played with, and they were seen out playing in the yard around 5:00 o'clock yesterday -- or Monday evening. I guess it was Monday evening. I can't even remember anymore. The days are just running together now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, the father of your child was at work when, apparently, Haleigh disappeared. What kind of work does he do, Crystal?

SHEFFIELD: I'm not sure. All I know is he runs a crane.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know, Marie, why he was out until 3:00 o'clock in the morning? I mean, what kind of work would have him out that late, or that early, depending on how you characterize it?

GRIFFIS: He -- we was ere told he worked from 3:00 to 3:00, so I supposed it's a 12-hour shift. And he's a crane operator working for a place called PDM Bridge (ph).

VAN SUSTEREN: Do either of you know if the girlfriend has a job or does any kind of work at all?



VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, Marie, thank you both very much. And you know, I certainly hope we can find this child. And there's so much publicity being cast on it that maybe someone knows something and will call in maybe we'll have good news on this soon. Thank you both.

SHEFFIELD: Thank you.

GRIFFIS: Yes, thank you very much, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, more breaking news coverage on the search for little Haleigh. The toddler's father will be here to go "On the Record."

Plus: Do you like pork? Not to eat, but as part of the massive stimulus bill. Well, guess what? A powerful senator says you don't care about pork. What? Is that true? Or is he drinking? We'll see.


VAN SUSTEREN: We continue our breaking news coverage on the disappearance of little Haleigh Cummings. She was reported missing 3:30 AM yesterday morning. Now, here's what we know, is that the father's girlfriend apparently last saw the child about 10:00 PM on Monday night when she went to bed and the child was in the same bed. About 3:00 o'clock in the morning, the girlfriend says that she got up to go to the bathroom, noticed the child was missing. About 27 minutes later, at 3:27 AM, the father in the meantime had come home from work, according to the parents -- according -- has -- was at work and he called 911, and the child has been missing -- or reported missing at that time.

Now, Haleigh's father, Ronald Cummings, joins us live, along with Crystal Cummings, Ronald's sister. Good evening to both of you. And Ronald, I know how distressed you are because everyone has told me. And the only thing I can hope is that we can at least shed more light on it and get more information so that people call in with tips.

So let me -- let's -- let me try to ask you some questions about it. What time did you arrive home, Ronald, on Tuesday morning?

RONALD CUMMINGS, FATHER: Approximately 3:30.

VAN SUSTEREN: And when you walked in the door -- take me through every step. You walked in the door. Was your girlfriend up at that point?

RONALD CUMMINGS: Yes. I never walked through the door. I pulled in the yard. She -- the door was open. She was standing there and waiting on me. I asked her what she was still doing up, and she then told me that the back -- she got up to use the restroom, and the back door was wide open and that my daughter was missing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was the child -- was your daughter missing when she got up to use the restroom, or between the time she got up to use the restroom and returned to bed? Did she tell you that?

RONALD CUMMINGS: I'm not sure. I never asked.

VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, when was the last time...

RONALD CUMMINGS: I'm just worried about where she's at.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, I understand that. Crystal, when was the last time you saw this child?

CRYSTAL CUMMINGS, AUNT: A couple weeks ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, have you ever noticed the child wanting to wander off or any people wanting -- in the neighborhood, unusual people paying close attention to her that you thought was peculiar?

CRYSTAL CUMMINGS: No. She wouldn't wander off.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ronald, do you agree that she would not just wander off?

RONALD CUMMINGS: Absolutely. I know my daughter like the back of my hand. I've raised her since the day she was 2 years old by myself. I know for a fact she would not wander off alone during in the daylight, much less at night. She's afraid of the dark.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ronald, has anyone ever wandered into your home, any strangers into your home?


VAN SUSTEREN: Ronald, always in every investigation, the person that people focus on are the people who last saw the child, so obviously, your girlfriend has got -- you know, there's a lot of focus on her. Is there any reason that you have any suspicion that your girlfriend knows more than she's saying, Ronald?

RONALD CUMMINGS: No, there is not. And I would like for a lot of the false allegations to be discarded. There's been a lot of false allegations made by the mother and her mother. And I just don't -- I don't appreciate it. It's not a custody battle. This here is about finding a 5-year-old missing child, my daughter.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's unusual for a father to have custody. Why do you -- did you win custody in a battle for this child?

RONALD CUMMINGS: Absolutely, I did.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happened? Explain -- explain -- you know -- you know, usually, the mother gets the custody. Why did the court give you custody of your child?

RONALD CUMMINGS: The only way I can honestly answer you that without being rude to others is they chose the better parent and the one who could provide better for the two children.

VAN SUSTEREN: Crystal, what's your -- what's your -- what do you think in your heart and your mind tonight as to where this child is and what happened? What makes the most sense to you?

CRYSTAL CUMMINGS: I don't -- really can't tell you what happened to her. I mean, I think someone took her. I just want them to bring her back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ronald, let me ask you the same question. What's your theory tonight? And I realize this is a very fluid situation, but what's your -- what do you think is the trail we should go down to look for this child? What do you think happened?

RONALD CUMMINGS: Somebody broke into my house and stole my daughter. I know because I specifically locked those doors before I left for work, and my child cannot unlock the deadbolt on that door because I have got the hole cut in a specific place where you have to force the door shut to get it to lock all the way. And I know it was locked all the way. I checked it myself. And she does not open the door for strangers or wander alone in the dark, nothing like that. So somebody broke into my home and stole my child.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was the door broken when you came home? Was that lock broken when you came home?

RONALD CUMMINGS: No. Obviously, a crowbar or something was used. I'm not sure. You'll have to speak more with the detectives about what was used or how it was done. I'm not sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ronald, Crystal, thank you both very much, and I very much hope that we're going to have good news and that child will be found, your daughter, Ronald, very soon and in good health. Thank you both.


RONALD CUMMINGS: Yes, thank you.

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