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A CD by aspiring singer and masseuse Dianne M. Parker

Retired homicide Detective Paul Cadigan moved from his native Massachusetts to Florida to try and relieve the pain. According to his family, Cadigan suffered a degenerative bone disease that caused him a great deal of grief.

Cadigan sought relief through massage therapy, and it appears as though this was where his problems began.

Cadigan was supposed to attend a Super Bowl party, but he didn’t show. His girlfriend reported him missing. He’d left a crock pot on in his home in Osceola County, Florida. The ex-cop also left his glasses behind.

Cadigan was found last Sunday. His body lay in the woods near Holopaw in a remote part of the county. Cadigan’s killer had cut off his head.

Who killed the former cop often described as a true hero by his colleagues? Who dumped his decapitated remains in the woods?

Just one of several YouTube videos wherein a teenager tells viewers how to make a soda bottle bomb. This video has no direct connection to the following story — it’s just an example of how easy it is to find this sort of thing.

An explosion inside Chestnut Accelerated Middle School in Springfield, Massachusetts has sent an Assistant Principal to the hospital and forced an evacuation. Two devices were found, but only one went off. The injured administrator suffered a “minor injury” as a result of the blast. According to WWLP Television, police are currently questioning two 8th graders in connection with the case.

The Worcester Telegram reports that the ‘bomb’ may have been a soda bottle bomb, “made from a household chemical and a soda bottle.”

Here’s the thing about soda bottle bombs like the one described in the Telegram — you can find instructions on how to make one on YouTube. For now. I have a feeling that won’t last long. Just watch the video at the top of this post to see what I mean.

Haleigh’s grandmother addresses the friction between Ronald Cummings and Crystal Sheffield.

Crystal Sheffield is the biological mother of Haleigh Cummings, the 5-year-old who vanished from her North Florida home early Tuesday. Sheffield spoke to Nancy Grace on HLN tonight and some possible discrepancies in the story of the child’s disappearance seemed to emerge. A show transcript should be available here sometime this evening.

Based on Grace’s interview with Sheffield, it seems like the story of Haleigh’s sleeping arrangments isn’t straight.

At one point, Crystal Sheffield was told the same story that made it into most published accounts of Haleigh’s disappearance — that Haleigh was in the same bed with Ronald Cummings’s girlfriend, 17-year-old Misty Croslin and Haleigh’s little brother, Ronald Cummings Jr. Responding to Nancy Grace’s questions, Sheffield said, “I was told they was all three in the same bed,” but then she revealed that she had since heard a different story: “I’ve heard that Junior was in another room, and it was just and Haleigh in the bed and now I’m hearing that they were hearing that they were both in the other room and she was in the bed by herself, Haleigh and Junior was in their own room.”

Grace, a former prosecutor, probed deeper. She said, “Miss Sheffield, please go through that with me one more time. First you thought they were all three in the bed together sleeping, waiting on the father to get home. He was at work, then you were told what?”

Sheffield responded, “That first I was told they was all three in the same bed […] Then it was junior was in the kids’ room in his bed and it was Haleigh and Misty in their bed, in the big bed, and then I heard that Haleigh and junior were both in their room, in their own room not Misty’s room.”

Later in the same interview, Nancy Grace addressed the question of the open back door Ronald Cummings found when he came home from work that morning. Crystal Sheffield has some doubts about the story of the open door. Grace asked, “Crystal, you have a problem with the door as well, what are your thoughts?”

Sheffield answered, “Yes, I just, it’s just the door was locked like they said it was. Ronald said he locked that door when he left for work and its supposed to lead high up enough to where Haleigh could not reach it, I just don’t understand how somebody got in there and nothing was broke on the door.”

Nancy Grace said, “It was a padlock? Or a deadbolt, someone had to have a key…”

Sheffield replied, “A dead bolt, a dead bolt.”

Crystal Sheffield does not live with her children, so it isn’t clear as to how she knows some of these details. It is clear that there may be some interesting variations in the story Misty Croslin has told police since Haleigh Cummings disappeared. Based on Nancy Grace’s interview with Crystal Sheffield as well as articles like this one, published in the Gainesville Sun, it is also clear that there are deep divisions between the people who love the missing child.  

Search and rescue groups are converging on Satsuma, Florida to help find Haleigh, and Putnam County authorities have said that everyone is a suspect, at the moment. Up to 44 sex offenders live within 5 miles of the Cummings residence, one of them less than a quarter mile away. Police have termed Haleigh’s disappearance an abduction, so surely the sex offenders are receiving a great deal of scrutiny.

If you think you know something relevant to this investigation, contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at (386) 329-0808.

Audio in the video above is the actual 911 call made by Misty Croslin and Ronald Cummings early Tuesday morning.

Multiple press reports this morning indicate that Florida authorities believe Haleigh Cummings was abducted early Tuesday. As suspicious as many may find the demeanor of Haleigh’s father, Ronald Cummings, or his teenage girlfriend Misty Croslin, Putnam County investigators are treating ‘everyone’ as a suspect. Police have also pointedly stated that Cummings and Croslin have been cooperating with the investigation. They seem to believe the little girl was taken from her bed, silently, as Croslin and Ronald Cummings Jr. — Haleigh’s little brother — slept nearby. Calling this an abduction may mean that the focus on local sex offenders — there are 44 within 5 miles of the Cummings residence — is intense. The search for Haleigh continues on land and in the water.

If Haleigh was indeed taken in the night by a stealthy sex predator, her vanishing is truly every parents’ worst nightmare. Anyone bold enough to do such a thing has probably done it before. I’d lay bets that local sex offenders who also have, let’s say, burglary raps will be of particular interest to the cops who want to bring Haleigh home again.

If you have information pertaining to Haleigh Cummings’s disappearance, call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at (386) 329-0808.

[MSNBC/WJXT]

 

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Amanda Gessner

On a personal profile at Hi5.com, Amanda Gessner wrote:

my name is amanda,i am 19 years old,i live in drexel hill pa.i have med. brown hair,baby blue eyes,i am 5″4″,n i weigh 135.i am very outgoing,always honest.i am very down to earth n yes i will let you know what it is!!!!i am a active girl…..i like to dance,model,act,sing…

Amanda didn’t say anything about an affinity for firefighters or for fire itself, but recently, she proved that last bit about singing. From Philly.com:

A 19-year-old Upper Darby woman who was observed on a store surveillance camera singing, “The fire company is going to be mad at me,” was arrested and charged with setting seven fires in the township early yesterday. 

Emphasis was added.

Amanda was hit with several charges, including arson and criminal mischief.

The Deputy Fire Chief for Upper Darby PA, John Hicks, told local media that Amanda had been at a number of fires taking photos with her cell phone. She’d also bothered firefighters at a local station. Hicks also said that Amanda “enjoyed seeing fire engines, enjoyed seeing fires, and enjoyed taking pictures of fires.”

Upper Darby police official Michael Chitwood said that Amanda’s name came up early in the investigation into the seven fires set at various locations. A look at surveillance tape from a store where Amanda was known to hang out captured her impromptu performance.

According to Michael Chitwood, Amanda is “the profile of what a pyromaniac would be.”

Officials also said Amanda Gessner is unemployed and lives with her parents. She had no history of criminal behavior.

Police say Amanda confessed to setting the fires once she was in custody.

Her MySpace profile, Ricanangel77, is locked, but she titled it “FireFighter” and had the following quote byher profile photo: “reliance (61) hook&ladderco. no. 1.”

Amanda Gessner probably needs serious psychiatric help. Pyromania is a distinct (if rather rare) form of mental illness. If she is the rare female sufferer, she will need a lot of treatment to deal with it.

Chances are there is something else going on with Amanda, though, and it’s probably too pathological to treat with any effectiveness. It’s also not like her acts were harmless — a family was asleep in the home where she allegedly started one fire. They escaped without any harm — but what if they hadn’t?

Police do not believe Amanda had anything to do with multiple arsons recently committed in Coatesville, PA, but she may well have been influenced by them.

She is currently being held on $100,000 bail.  

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Police and volunteers are still searching in and around rural Satsuma, Florida for 5-year-old Haleigh Ann Marie Cummings.

Haleigh vanished sometime between 10 p.m. Monday night and 3 a.m. Tuesday morning. According to WDBO radio, authorities have released the 911 call Haleigh’s father made when he came home early Tuesday. Ronald Cummings had discovered that the rear door to his double-wide was open and his daughter was missing. Via News4Jax.com we have a transcript of his dialogue with the 911 operator:

CALLER: I just woke up and my back door was all open and I can’t find my daughter.

DISPATCH: Can’t find what?

CALLER: My daughter.

DISPATCH:Ok. When did you last see her?

CALLER: Um, we just like, you know, it was about 10 o’clock. She was sleeping (inaudible).

DISPATCH: Ok. How old is your daughter?

CALLER: She’s 5.

DISPATCH: OK. What was she last seen wearing, Ma’am?

CALLER: She was in her pajamas. We were sleeping.

DISPATCH: OK. Alright, you said your back door was wide open?

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

DISPATCH: Was your back door locked do you know?

CALLER: Yes. The back door always stays locked.

FATHER: I just got home from work, my 5-year-old daughter is gone. I need someone to be here now. I’m telling you. If I find whoever has my daughter before you all do, I’m killing him. I don’t care. I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison.

DISPATCH: It’s OK sir, we got them on the way. Can you give me a description of the pajamas she was wearing?

FATHER: I don’t (expletive) know I was at work.

A police spokesperson has said that the case is “truly still a whodunit.” Authorities still aren’t sure whether they have an abduction or a simple missing child on their hands. The same spokesperson, Maj. Gary Bowling, also told reporters that police “haven’t lost ground, but we haven’t gained any ground that we can you know plant a stake in and say yeah we’re making progress in this area.”

At this time, neither Misty Croslin, Ronald Cummings’s teen girlfriend, nor Cummings himself are considered suspects. Up to 25 registered sex offenders live in the area, and police are questioning them as well.

Haleigh’s father has insisted that she was afraid of the dark and would not roam at night. This may have been why he was so certain right away that his daughter had been abducted. A 2-year-old child was asleep in the same room as Haleigh, and he was fine. Police said there was no sign of forced entry into the mobile home.

The Cummings residence is on a rural road in a heavily wooded area. I’m tempted to reject the idea of a sex offender kidnapping the little girl, but then I realize that in some ways, this case bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the disappearance of Jessica Lunsford.  

Except, that is, for the age of the missing child. Every time I’ve written about a missing child who fell prey to a sexual predator, that child has been at least 7 or older. Predators who target children as young as 4 or 5 certainly do exist — but they are relatively rare. Rarer still — silent snatching in the dead of night. Joseph Edward Duncan III snatched two children in the dead of night, but he killed the childrens’ family to eliminate witnesses — and just maybe because he wanted to.

The odds are, most of the time, that a child as young as Haleigh Cummings is more likely to fall prey to someone close to her.

The Amber Alert for Haleigh is still active. If you have information regarding the disappearance of this little girl, call the Putnam County Sheriff at 386-329-0808.  

Additional links: TampaBays10.com, MyFoxOrlando, a mobile webcam on the scene.

UPDATE: I won’t be on the show tonight. I’ll be enjoying Papa Johns at home and not worry about whether I have spots on my shirt or not — HLN has an affiliate reporter on-scene. So watch anyway, dammit.

ORIGINAL POST:

I’ll be a guest on Issues With Jane Velez Mitchell tonight on CNN Headline News (HLN). We’ll be discussing the still-unfolding story of 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. Haleigh vanished sometime early Monday morning from her bed in a mobile home in rural Satsuma, Fla. I’ve been updating this post about the case all day. The segment in which I will appear should air sometime between 7:30 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. [Link: Putnam County Sheriff’s flyer about the disappearance — PDF.]


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Haleigh Cummings, age 5

Thousands are gathering in Orlando or watching TV this morning, remembering Caylee Anthony. In another part of Florida, another child has vanished, and this time there was no one-month delay in reporting the disappearance.

Haleigh Cummings, age 5, was last seen around 10 p.m. Monday night in Satsuma, Florida. Haleigh was staying with her father, Ronald Cummings, and his girlfriend, Misty Croslin. The little girl’s father was at work when she vanished. Misty Croslin told police she realized Haleigh was missing around 3 in the morning.

Putnam County officials said there was no sign of forced entry into the house, but they didn’t know if all the doors and windows were locked when Haleigh disappeared.

Haleigh is wearing a pink shorts and a tan shirt. She is 3 feet tall, has blond hair, brown eyes and pierced ears.

Details about this disappearance are still trickling in, but CBS47.com reports that “[police]believe Cummings may be endangered.” Authorities are searching in and around the Hermit’s Cove area in Satsuma [see map below — also, the name of the community has been misreported as “Hermus.” The Ocala paper linked in paragraph 2 above states that Haleigh was staying at a home in the Buffalo Bluff neighborhood].

If you have any information pertaining to the whereabouts of Haleigh Cummings, you can call the Putnam County Sheriff: (386) 329-0808 or 1-888-FL-MISSING.

[MissingKids.com, Sun-Sentinel.com

I will update and/or revise this post as needed.

UPDATE

According to Fox News, both Ronald Cummings and Misty Croslin are being questioned in connection with Haleigh’s disappearance. Are Cummings and Croslin suspects? Police spokesperson Sgt. Jason Nettles tells Fox “I don’t know that for sure.”

Cummings also spoke to Jacksonville’s Channel 4. From the article in the preceding link: “Ronald told Channel 4 there is no doubt in his mind that she was abducted and he’ll do anything to get her back. […] Haleigh is afraid of the dark and there’s no way she would have gone out in the middle of the night by herself.” 

The same report indicated that a 2-year-old child was in the same room as Haleigh. That child was unharmed.


View Larger Map

According to the LA Daily News, police have arrested fugitives Rianne Celine Theriault-Odom and Nathaniel Marquis Petrillo. The couple was captured via “a joint operation between Los Angeles police and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.” The pair allegedly doused exotic dancer Roberta Busby with a flammable substance and set her on fire last week. Busby, who has two children, “remains in critical condition with burns over 40 percent of her body.” In this post published yesterday I gave info on how you can help Busby’s family stay on their feet. Check it out and help Busby’s family, if you are able. 

About 10 minutes of local LA news coverage of the end of the slow-speed police pursuit of a white Bentley.

Miami-based hip-hop artist DJ Khaled wants you to know he wasn’t in that damned white Bentley. From Khaled’s MySpace blog:

****** OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE ****

This is DJ Khaled and due to recent press and news reports I feel compelled to
release a statement. Just to be clear I am in Miami, FL working on Rick Ross’
album, Deeper Than Rap. I am not in LA where there are reports that I have been
in a police chase. These reports are completely false and unfounded.

DJ Khaled
We The Best Music 

The slow speed chase that ended with the death of the still-unknown driver had Twitter all, um, a-twitter last night (example: super-popular Twitter user, actor, author and blogger Wil Wheaton, who posted a number of tweets as he watched the coverage), and for some reason, a lot of people decided the driver might just be DJ Khaled. Does he even own a Bentley?

Anyway, Khaled just wanted it clear. He’s like Shaggy it wasn’t him.

The Associated Press reports that the driver “shot himself in the head as he sat in the car,” and that he “was suspected of assault with a deadly weapon on his girlfriend.”

The fact that police were chasing a Bentley alone produced rumors that the driver was a celebrity. Khaled seems to have been the most popular guess, but due to his recent domestic/criminal problems, singer Chris Brown was also proposed as the culprit. But the site linked in the preceding sentence is apparently based in Australia, so maybe it’s understandable that they pulled a random music star’s name out of their kangaroo pouch. American blogs clearly knew better.

The LA Times states this morning that the Bentley had Illinois plates and that the driver was “[a]businessman of Pakistani origin.”

So… we know that non-celebrities who assault their significant others drive Bentleys, too.

We know that DJ Khaled has had enough of your shenanigans. 

And I found an excuse to link Wil Wheaton from a crime blog post. So I’ve got that going for me.