Art Harris Breaks Tommy Croslin Was The Tipster for River Search
From Bald Truth Staff, (c)www.artharris.com, all rights reserved
In an interview with CNN’s Nancy Grace Show Tuesday, journalist Art Harris revealed exclusively that the investigation into missing five year old Haleigh Cummings has turned into a rapidly unfolding murder case, all triggered by a tip from accused drug trafficker Tommy Croslin who admitted he’d been lying about his knowledge of how she vanished, and lead Putnam County Sheriff’s investigators to the banks of the St. John’s River Monday night.
That’s where sources close to the case tell The Bald Truth Tommy Croslin claimed a Tennessee cousin dumped the little girl’s body more than 14 months ago after his sister, Misty Croslin reported Haleigh missing in a 911 call. Police have called Misty the key to solving the case, and kept her under intense pressure, even as she sits behind bars in the St. John’s County Jail, near brother Tommy Croslin, who is also being held on drug trafficking charges.
Art Harris appeared on Nancy Grace Tuesday night to break this exclusive information on the case to the HLN host:
GRACE: Sources telling us tonight that this has officially, as of today, turned into a homicide investigation. As we go to air, at this moment, we are showing you live photos and live video. The St. John`s River and a densely wooded area about two miles south of where Haleigh disappeared, her home, is now being combed not only by cadaver dogs — there you are seeing the photo of an ice cooler, a blue ice cooler being hauled up out of the St. John`s River — being combed by cadaver dogs, scuba divers, helicopters, search teams, all of this happening in the last couple of hours, in the last 10 to 12 hours. We find out Misty Croslin rousted out of her private jail cell and grilled again, in fact, taken back to Putnam County to be questioned and then taken back to her jail cell. Then, suddenly, everyone converges at the St. John`s River.
Straight out to Art Harris, investigative journalist. Art, what do you know?
ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Nancy, I can tell you that the break in this case, as unlikely as it sounds, came from Misty`s brother, Tommy Croslin, and that in an interview that he had with a retired FBI agent, Steve Brown (ph), supposedly an investigator for his lawyer — Brown would not comment — but that he told him that is where they should look and that Tommy led detectives in the last couple of days to this spot on the river with Steve Brown and said that`s where they needed to go look, that this is where her body had been dumped.
“He suddenly has confirmed, it looks like, the story that Misty Croslin, his sister, has been telling others in two letters from jail, claiming cousin Joe from Tennessee came into the trailer that night, tried to steal a gun from her then boyfriend, now husband — or now ex-husband Ronald Cummings, couldn`t find, it, got mad, took Haleigh, that Tommy left and Joe left with Haleigh. Joe has denied any involvement. He has a lawyer. He`s talked to investigators a couple of times.
“But back to the river bank. It was Tommy who flunked a polygraph in the last few days, my sources tell me, a private polygraph, and he decided finally to come clean. I talked to his grandmother in Tennessee today, Nancy, and she said to me that Tommy was on the phone with her and said — she said he said, I`m just — I can`t keep this to myself any longer. Her name is Flora Hollers. She said to me, Well, I asked him, Did Joe do it? And Tommy said yes.’”
GRACE: So that leads me to my next question, Art Harris. That says to me that Misty Croslin was at the home, that cousin Joe was at the home, that Tommy Croslin — they were all there and nobody stopped the perp from taking the girl. And all this time, they`ve known. Nobody called 911. Nobody called the father, Ronald Cummings, nothing. If this scenario is true, they should all go down for homicide!
HARRIS: Nancy, the story is that they were in the home and that Misty and Tommy were both threatened by cousin Joe, (who allegedly) threatened to kill them, their family, and that for this long, they have sat on this story. Now, whether true or not, they are now teaming up independently to confirm at least one story that police are following to its conclusion and have high hopes this could at least lead to a break in the case…
GRACE: That is BS, Art Harris! Because they could have told police the truth! They could have called 911 when they took — if this is true. If they took that child, that defenseless 5-year-old little girl with Turner syndrome, if they let somebody take that — take her from that house and now she is dead, probably molested, in the St. John`s River, they all need to go down on the Florida death penalty!”
Sources close to the case tell The Bald Truth the case ignited when Tommy Croslin flunked a private polygraph last Wednesday arranged by his lawyer, and finally coughed up crucial leads to attorney James Werter’s private investigator, former FBI agent Steven Brown. Both tight-lipped, Werter and Brown declined comment, referring us to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Jeff Hardy announced he’d met privately with Haleigh Cummings family members, but declined to discuss any details of the meeting.
Our sources tell us, however, that investigators spent several emotional hours with the family breaking the sad news: that they believed Haleigh wasn’t coming home, but were hopefully close to cracking one of the most frustrating missing child cases in recent years.
No one has been charged for her murder yet, contrary to some erroneous reports, and investigators still don’t have enough probable cause to sell a judge on issuing a warrant to arrest cousin Joe Overstreet.
He was recently named as the mystery man who Misty Croslin says showed up at Ronald Cummings trailer with Tommy Croslin the night she reported Haleigh missing to allegedlly steal his prized guns. Only Misty claims Joe couldn’t find the guns, got angry and snatched Haleigh instead. She has said Tommy left on his own, but her brother is now saying he went with Joe to watch him dump the body.
His grandmother, Flora Hollers of Tennessee, told me Tuesday that Tommy called her from jail to say he just couldn’t hold the secrets any longer, that it was eating him alive and needed to talk. She told The Bald Truth in an exclusive interview that Tommy claimed Joe had killed Haleigh, something he’s denied repeatedly. Flora says she passed on the tip to an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Joe has been interviewed at least twice by investigators.
When I called and got him on the phone over the weekend, he said, “Don’t call back!” and slammed down the phone.
Misty detailed her alleged scenario in two jailhouse letters to family, as we first reported, but with her history of lies and failed polygraphs–including one she took with a top police polygraph operator Feb. 26, investigators were hamstrung–until her brother, Tommy, wittingly or unwittingly corraborated some key elements in her story, and implicated himself as having also seen his cousin take the child.
Misty Croslin’s attorney, Ed Fields, tells The Bald Truth that what his client has been saying all along may help break the case, and put pressure on her brother, who finally caved Monday night and lead the investigators to the river’s edge.
But with little crediblity following three failed polygraphs and layered voice analysis, Misty Croslin is hardly a witness who can make a case against anyone—without plenty of backup.
So when her brother finally cracked in recent days and admitted he’d been lying and corraborated at least part of her story fingering cousin Joe as the alleged killer, police scrambled divers, and other searchers to the stretch of river five miles from the trailer where then babysitter Misty Croslin reported Haleigh missing in Feb., 2009.
Our sources tell us investigators sprung Tommy Croslin briefly from the St. John’s County Jail, where he’s being held without bond on a drug trafficking charge, along with his sister, Misty Croslin, the babysitter whGRACE: Out to the lines. Mary Ann in Georgia. Hi, Mary Ann.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy. I so much commend you for your work. Listen, I had a question. Remember when Junior said that he saw a dark figure and the couch jumping. Could that have been Misty`s cousin Joe raping her that night?
GRACE: Now, that is a scenario that no one has brought up. I want to go back to Art Harris, investigative journalist at Artharris.com. Art, not only did Junior, Ronald Cummings`s son, Junior, say that he saw a male dressed in dark clothes there that evening, but then Misty Croslin in some bizarre, twisted story says she, in a dream-like state, recalls I think three males, three to four males in the home that night, which means there was somebody else in the home, as far as I`m concerned. These two stories do jibe with what we are hearing.
HARRIS: That`s right, Nancy. Now, I can`t speak about that alleged sexual encounter. However, Misty has had some questionable encounters with Joe in the past, her family members tell me. I can tell you also…
GRACE: Well, that`s all coming from her. And she`s already…
HARRIS: That`s right.
GRACE: … flunked four polygraphs, Art. I mean, what more do you need?
HARRIS: Of course. Well, the thing is, that night in this dream-like state, Nancy, she`s now accounted for at least two of the males in the home, and that would be allegedly cousin Joe and Tommy. The interesting thing is, why did they wait so long to come forward? What was Tommy hiding? What was she hiding? But now…
GRACE: Well, obviously, they`re part and parcel of it, Art, because if it were a simple matter of going, I know who did it, it`s cousin Joe, that`s who you need to be looking at, this is what happened — if it were that simple, they would have come forward. But obviously, if the scenario is true, Art, they didn`t want to incriminate themselves.
Where does Crystal Sheffield, the bio mom, stand on all this?
HARRIS: Well, the bio mom, I`m told, came out of the department today, sheriff`s department in Putnam County, distraught, weeping, and told a friend that, quote, “Joe killed my baby.” Now, whether that`s true or not, that`s what she said.
GRACE: Art, repeat. I couldn`t hear you.
HARRIS: I said that she was told by sheriff`s department investigators enough information that she came out of the meeting and called a friend to say, quote, “Joe killed my baby,” from my sources.o reported five year old Haleigh missing 14 months ago.
Back to you, Art Harris. Isn`t it true that from behind bars this whole crew has been saying that it has to do with the dope dealing?
ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, WWW.ARTHARRIS.COM: That`s right, Nancy. In fact, they have been denying they were dealing drugs when you see it in black and white. You see it in living color on the undercover video.
So obviously, they have a history of lying. In this case, I`m told that Misty`s story is that cousin Joe put a knife to her throat, Nancy, and that is why she was so frightened. Tommy says that he threatened to shoot him. So if this is true, then that is the fear factor.
GRACE: The fear factor. OK. You really think I believe anything these two say?
Art Harris, come on, you`re the investigative journalist —
HARRIS: Nancy, I`m just — Nancy, I`m reporting what my sources are telling me. That`s all I can do. I`ll let you be the judge.