PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -- Monday marked five years since Haleigh Cummings disappeared from her Satsuma home in the middle of the night. Her father was at work, and his girlfriend was at his home with Haleigh.
Family and classmates of Haleigh's gathered at Browning Pearce Elementary in Putnam County to remember the then-5-year-old girl.
Alyssa Hall, 11, was a friend of Haleigh's. She said, "She was very nice. She helped me imagine things. She kind of made it into a big adventure."
A group of about six children were in the school courtyard Monday. They were kindergarten classmates with Haleigh Cummings when the 5-year-old disappeared.
Now they're in fifth grade. They still remember their little blond headed friend and the heartbreak when she vanished five years ago. They described that time in a way only children can.
Hall, through tears said, "It was really fun with her around, but when she left, the adventure stopped and it wasn't such an awesome adventure anymore."
Another fifth grader, David Dowling, said, "I feel bad because a couple days before she went missing, I spilled juice on her at snack time. I feel bad about that."
Aleah Ames remembers Haleigh and said, "I just think one day she'll be home and she'll remember us."
Haleigh's great-grandmother Annette Sykes still struggles with the emotions and mysteries of Haleigh's disappearance. She said there is "the hurt, the emptiness, the anger."
Sykes and Haleigh's grandmother unveiled a plaque next to a tree already planted in Haleigh's honor at Haleigh's school in Putnam County.
Ms. Mary Johnston was Haleigh's teacher and said, "It's sad. You have your moments and you cry."
Haleigh's great-grandmother has certainly cried. She believes Haleigh is still alive, but Sykes is now fighting lung cancer and she worries she might not see Haleigh again.
"Knowing that I may not be here when she comes home is painful," she said, wiping a tear from her cheek.
But she wanted a plaque at Haleigh's school – with the child's picture on it – so many children will know of her.
Little Allyssa Hall couldn't stop tearing up Monday afternoon. She hopes Haleigh will return, because she said Haleigh has a lot to return home to. "It was hard not to be with her. If she was here, she'd be happy and have family and her friends."
Investigators say they have no new leads in the case.