Cops Dig Up Grandma's House in Search for 5-Year-Old

Some 40 officers and cadaver dogs searched, but found only animal remains.

ByABC News
February 17, 2009, 9:51 AM

June 27, 2009 — -- Police spent the day Friday digging and dragging ponds at the home of missing Florida 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings' grandmother, but found only animal remains.

The new search comes more than four months after Putnam County, Fla., police scaled back their search for the little girl, who disappeared from the Satsuma, Fla., home of her father, Ronald Cummings, Tuesday, Feb. 10. He reported her missing in an desperate 911 call.

Even though an amber alert was issued and police received some 4,000 tips, the girl has not been found and no suspect or person of interest has ever been identified.

"[The search] was initiated because we did a interview with some family members ... and during the interview they wanted to make sure we understood that they had buried some animals here during the investigation," Putnam County Sheriff's Office Capt. Dominick Piscatello said. "With that said, we couldn't leave any stones unturned."

Some 40 people, including divers and members Florida's Department of Law Enforcement, Baker County and Putnam County sheriffs offices, with the help of cadaver dogs, searched the 30-acre Glen St. Mary home of Haleigh's grandmother, Marie Griffis.

The little girl's mother, Crystal Sheffield, also lives there.

"Any searches they do I think is wonderful. I mean, it's never enough for me, until I see her," Sheffield told local TV stations. "It's hard to explain. I mean, I know she's not out here, but it makes me feel better that they did come here. I mean, that's all I can really say."

The only thing the searchers found were animal remains.

"We haven't found anything," Piscatello said. "We did locate the animals they said that they buried. ... It was a horse. We found some bones from some cows and some goats."

The effort Friday was the first physical search for the little girl since March.

Police and Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer group that joined the effort, scaled back their hunt for Haleigh after a week of intensive searching, but they said they had not given up, according to Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy.