Police searching for missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings were notified about a missing Florida sex offender, but stopped short of calling the man a suspect in the girl's disappearance, Ocala.com reports.
Chad Eugene Reynolds, 25, was last seen Feb. 1 leaving his mother's home in Ochlawaha, Fla. — about two hours from Haleigh's home — police said. He was reported missing on Feb. 4.
Reynolds reportedly borrowed a car from a friend and then later called to say the vehicle had broken down near the Marion/Lake County Lines, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office. The car was located in an undisclosed location south of Marion County, but Reynolds was nowhere to be found.
Reynolds was sentenced in Putnum County — the same county where Haleigh was reported missing Feb. 10 — to seven years in prison for armed burglary and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child younger than 12. The incident happened in September of 2002.
Maj. Chris Blair told Ocala.com that the Marion County Sheriff's Office contacted the Putnum County Sheriff's Office about Reynolds.
Authorities said their first concern is Reynolds' safety, but added that he will likely be arrested for failing to report to his probation officer.
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Reynolds was released in November and is on 10 years of community supervision, Ocala.com reports.
Haleigh was discovered missing from her Satsuma, Fla. home by her father's girlfriend, Misty Croslin. The father, Ronald Cummings, said Haleigh had gotten up to use the bathroom, and when she didn't return, Croslin went to look for her and noticed the back door of the mobile home they shared was open.
Police believe the girl was abducted.
Chief Deputy Rick Ryan of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department said in a news conference investigators continue to interview family members, their friends and others. Everyone is considered a potential person of interest.
"We're frustrated, of course, but the No. 1 mission is to find the little girl and return her to her family," he said. "We haven't lost our motivation or our drive."
As a registered sexual predator, Reynolds is required to report to his mother's house everyday, according to Ocala.com.
"We're handling it like any missing and endangered person. We're concerned for his safety because his mother said he hasn't done anything like this before," Marion County Sheriff's Capt. Tommy Bibb said.