Being even remotely involved with the Haleigh Cummings case is somewhat like being a bit player in the classic movie ‘The Curse Of The Mummy’. No charges have been filed concerning the direct case, finding the missing 6 year old, but grief and pain is awaiting all that enter this all too real soap opera.

I am writing this as an Op-Ed piece, and as a consequence feel no commitment to ‘name names’ or sources, take it for what it is.

The victim in this case is Haleigh Cummings, however she is not the only one. There are dead and wounded everywhere. You could write an entire book on the subject, and maybe I will at some point. Some of the victims of the ‘Haleigh Curse’ richly deserve the ills that have befallen them. Some entered the fray looking for fame and fortune, only to find infamy and ill-will. I don’t think I need to expand on who those people are. But, they have reaped their richly deserved ignominy. If I hear the term Pro-Bono bloody lawyer one more time I swear I am going to puke!

Others entered this battleground with nothing but the best of intentions, they were not seeking fame, they were seeking a little lost child. Of course, under the curse, no good deed can go unpunished, but that will be the subject of another article.

Although I am by no means a supporter of drugs or prostitution, this case has also created some major waves in the local hood. That is not a bad thing, it has had an effect on the dynamics of the area. Suddenly what was tolerated in the old Putnam County is no longer quite as acceptable.

A question that I am asked a lot is why don’t the press push this case, why don’t we see Haleigh Cummings face on the TV everyday? The answer is simple, to touch this case is to commit a form of professional Hari Kari.

Yes, CNN or more correctly their HLN cable channel are sometimes goaded into covering it, but, and it is a big but, when was the last time they actually covered any ‘breaking news’, or in Nancy speak ‘Bombshell’. For the most part the coverage is days old, and the coverage very sanitized.

The press has for the most part realized that this is a career ruining case. Most of the family players come across as actors in a real life (G rated) version of Deliverance.

There are a few of us press types that have stuck with it, and we will continue to do so.

Haleigh Cummings has also given rise to another phenomenon, the armchair sleuth. In principal there is nothing wrong with it. The more ideas that are thrown in the bucket, the better. However certain of these ‘sleuths’ have taken a more vigilante stance. Online wars have been raging for months. Several sites, BNN included, decided to nip the problem in the bud. About the only positive thing is that just like bacteria on an agar plate, eventually they run out of new food and eat each other. Of course this means that the miscreants move on to create havoc on someone else’s web site.

The Putnam County Sheriff Office while never being particularly forthcoming with information has now become almost mute. Some quasi ‘news sites’ have effectively closed the door. As testament to that last statement let me pose a question.  When did someone from Putman County last appear on HLN?

PCSO are not bad people, they are well qualified and committed. However they have to be judicious with what they share. I have it on good authority, that in the Haleigh Cummings case they have a ‘DO NOT CALL BACK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE’ list. Alas that has created a void in information.

There is something called ‘the law of unintended consequences’, and Haleigh Cummings is the best example I can think of in over two decades. The ‘unintended consequences’ are so wide ranging that it is impossible to encapsulate them into a single article.

I know that some of the ‘unintended consequences’ will be reading this. No doubt I will receive a good deal of ‘hate mail’, I just ask one thing, think before you leap!

The fact that a little girl is missing has become lost in all of the rest of the nonsense. rather than take your anger out on me, do something useful, help find Haleigh Cummings.

Simon Barrett

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