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 Interview: Annette Sykes

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Team HaLeigh
Team HaLeigh

PostSubject: Interview: Annette Sykes   Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:14 pm

Haleigh Cummings family waits while new search begins
Reported by: Matt Saffer
Email: msaffer@ActionNewsJax.com
Last Update: 8:14 pm

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – Antte Syke's is the great-grandmother of Haleigh Cummings. She is also the woman who was asked to leave a newly designated search site for Haleigh Cummings on Thursday.

“We’re just pretty much frustrated the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t let us know anything. They don’t tell us anything, we have to find out on our own. Do our own investigating to find out what the Sheriff’s Office is up to,” said Sykes.

Annette said when she first heard Sheriff’s Deputies were searching a heavily wooded area in south Palatka off Highway 19, she headed down there. She says when she asked deputies if the search was for Haleigh, they lied to her.

“(They said) they weren’t searching for Haleigh, it had nothing to do with Haleigh, it was a training maneuver um, and then it was a drug bust, they had found marijuana. I mean, marijuana doesn’t grow underwater,” said Sykes.

Once Annette left, she said she had to let Haleigh’s father know about the search. Sykes says when Ronald Cummings found out another search was going on for his missing daughter, he lost it. She says even though Sheriff’s Deputies have done numerous searches before, a new one always brings new hope that Haleigh will be brought home.

“The fact that they are doing something makes you feel good, because at least you know they’re actually doing something physically, you can see they’re doing something. It’s not lip service. But then again you think, what if they find her. If she’s actually there, then she’s dead. So you have to pray and hope, let them pump it out and find out she’s not there, then they can go on to something else and actually find her,” said Sykes.

Annette invited us into her home where she talked about how she heard about the search, and what it means to her and her family.

“Until they physically bring us a body, Haleigh will always be alive. I mean, there’s nothing they can do to make us believe otherwise unless they bring us a physical body. Nothing’s ever going to change the fact that we believe she’s alive somewhere, and just hope and pray whoever has her will bring her home,” said Sykes.

Action News also spoke with Haleigh Cummings biological mother Crystal Sheffield. She says she had just been contacted by members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office who told her so far, they had found nothing. They say in the area they have been searching, all they have found is beer bottles, and nothing of any significance to the Haleigh Cummings investigation.

Haleigh’s family tells Action News the actual area being searched is a known hang out for kids looking for trouble, or a place to do drugs. We’re told it’s shaped like a giant grid with a large pond roughly three acres in the middle. It’s this pond Sheriff’s Deputies are slowly draining. Three massive pumps have been brought in and are draining the pond at a rate of two-thousand gallons a minute apiece. On scene on Saturday, Action News only saw one Sheriff’s Deputy guarding the draining equipment who declined to comment about anything in the investigation. Sheriff’s Deputies do say once the pond is drained, sufficiently, dive teams will go back in to try to get the physical evidence they believe may be in the body of water.

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