My wife Jan and I have talked about these cases so much that they are ingrained in our very being.

In one case the little girl is clearly dead, a year ago the black plastic garbage bag was found that contained her remains, just bones and some duct tape. Haleigh Cummings has dodged that situation for now. Yet is is more than 10 months that she has been missing. And with each day that passes the doubts of her well being increase.

Todays program was a difficult one to put on. People listening in, likely do not understand many of the complex dynamics at work behind the scenes. It is not just the story that becomes part of you, but the people that over time you call friends. Many of the press have left the story for more fertile ground. A few of us have not, and I think it is fair to say that a bond of friendship has been created. A friendship that will continue long after Haleigh Cummings is found.

Over the past 10 months we have shared periods of hope and periods of despondency. We have all met either in person or vicariously via the telephone and email many people connected with the case. There are good people, and there are people who’s motives remain unclear. We have combed the information, we have brainstormed, we have prodded and cajoled. We have been Law Enforcements best friend and also their worst enemy. In short we have done everything we can think of.

The fact remains, Haleigh Cummings is still missing, where is this little girl? I used to joke that everyone that touches this story is doomed. The mummy’s curse was the phrase I used. Unfortunately I am now of the opinion that I am correct. It is not my place to air all of the sad stories, but I think it is fair to say that no-one has remained unscathed. Careers and personal lives have forever been changed.

Many people entered this modern day Colosseum, and few remain standing. As TJ Hart eloquently put it ‘it was us that bought into the case, not our loved ones.’ Personal stress from this case is much more widespread than many people understand. Yesterday on the program we were joined by Pastor John Reagan, in no way is he personally involved in Haleigh Cummings disappearance, yet he has become the target of innuendo and violence. Shots were fired at his house, and various other unsavory activities have come his way. A blogger who shall remain anonymous even went so far as to publish pictures of his children and infer that they were involved in the abduction. I guess the good news is that sources close to the case are saying that Law Enforcement do not view the posts as credible.

This is remarkably similar to what has happened to Richard Grund in the Caylee Anthony case. I have talked to Richard on numerous occasions, and most of the conversations I have opted not to share with the public, but this is a man of honor, and maybe the biggest advocate that Caylee Anthony had in her short life, yet he has been the subject of ridicule, innuendo, and ridiculous claims in the tabloid press.

photo.jpgThe latest victim in the ‘Curse’ is my very good friend William Staubs. Bill has a tendency of polarizing people, you either love him or you hate him, but you certainly cannot ignore him. Few people actually know Bill Staubs, most see him as the rough tuff, kick your door down bounty hunter. That image is about as far from the truth as you can get. Yes indeed Cobra does kick doors down, yes indeed Cobra is a big bad lad. But Bill is not. Bill is a very caring man, one who means well, but tends to be a bit of a bull in a china shop. He leaves a wake of broken stuff wherever he goes. I will let you into a secret about Bill, if it were not for him, there is no way that the Haleigh Cummings story would have got the coverage on HLN’s Nancy Grace that it did. How so? Well it was Bill Staubs that paid Art Harris for him to come to come to Satsuma for 5 days and report on the story.  Art and Nancy are good friends, voile! Were it not for this, the Haleigh Cummings story would have been a two day blitz and forgotten.

The net result of Bill’s involvement has been his inability to make a living, his bail bond license has been suspended as a direct result of something connected to the search for Haleigh Cummings. His personal life is in shreds, and he faces a court trial in January 2010. I don’t know how many times I have heard Bill tell me “all I wanted to do was look for a missing little girl.”

The pressure on Bill has reached the stage where he has announced his withdrawal from this case. I for one am sad to hear this. Bill, you know that you always have friends in my wife and I.

It was really hard to host yesterdays program, I knew going in it would not be easy, Christmas is right around the corner, and here we were talking about some of the most depressing news stories of 2009.

You can hear the entire program here.

Simon and Jan Barrett

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