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Latest Missing Person Video for haleigh-breann-culwell
Latest Missing Person Photos for
Missing Haleigh Breann Culwell
Haleigh, circa 2007; Age progression forensics photo to age 24 (circa 2020); Barry Whitton, circa 1997; Barry Whitton, circa 2007; Michelle Whitton
Missing Since 06/21/2007
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 01/25/1996 (25)
Age 11 years old
Height and Weight 5'2, 110 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Blonde hair, brown eyes. Haleigh wore orthodontic braces at one time, but they were removed prior to her disappearance.
The day she went missing, Kimberly went to her job at Cloverdale Manor Nursing Home in Scottsboro, Alabama to pick up some papers. She called a friend on the way back home to Section, Alabama, but they were unable to talk because the connection was bad. Kimberly promised to call her friend back in five minutes. She never did.
Kimberly's coworkers reported her disappearance on June 28, a week after she was last seen. Authorities interviewed her husband, Barry Van Whitton, who is Haleigh's stepfather. Barry stated Kimberly and Haleigh left their residence in a white Ford van or truck with Alabama license plates shortly after Kimberly arrived home from work. He said he gave his wife $20,000 in cash, and he never saw them after that. He stated they may have gone to Montana. They have never been heard from again.
Photographs of Barry are posted with this case summary. He had been married to Kimberly for eight years prior to her disappearance. He has a criminal record; he was convicted on charges of receiving stolen property in 1988 and 1991. After authorities searched his property for evidence in his wife and stepdaughter's disappearance, they arrested Barry on weapons charges. Guns were found on his property, and he is not legally permitted to own them due to his criminal history.
The judge heard witnesses testify that Barry bragged about having murdered three people, discussed body disposal and removing trace evidence, and threatened to kill other individuals, including his mother-in-law and the judge who placed his eleven-year-old son in foster care after Kimberly and Haleigh's disappearances.
Barry is considered a suspect in Kimberly and Haleigh's cases, although he has never confessed to harming them. Authorities stated they found blood in one of his pickup trucks and on a hatchet handle, but the source of the blood has not been revealed.
Barry's first wife, Michelle Townsend Whitton, also disappeared in late 1997. At the time Barry said she, like Kimberly and Haleigh, had simply left; he said Michelle went out to get breakfast and never came back. A photo of Michelle is posted with this case summary. She was found beaten and stabbed to death and buried in a shallow grave in DeKalb County, Alabama six weeks later, in January 1998.
Barry and Kimberly met through a personals ad Barry placed in a magazine. They got married about a year after Michelle's death, after only four to six months of dating. It's unclear whether she knew his previous wife had been murdered or that he was considered a suspect.
While in jail on the gun charges, Barry allegedly told a cellmate he did not kill Michelle, but he knew who did and he had killed that person. In December 2014, a little less than a year before he was supposed to be released from federal prison, Barry was indicted for Michelle's murder. He was found guilty in September 2015 and sentenced to life in prison.
It's uncharacteristic of Kimberly and Haleigh to leave for an extended period without telling anyone. Kimberly had worked at the nursing home for seven years prior to her disappearance, and the only time she missed work was to take Haleigh on a school trip. Kimberly and Barry weren't having any known problems in their marriage in 2007, and Kimberly hadn't told anyone her husband was mistreating her. Barry hasn't faced any charges relating to their disappearances.
Kimberly and her daughter may have traveled to Montana after they went missing, but investigators suspect foul play was involved in their cases. Haleigh was a fifth-grade student at Macedonia School at the time she went missing. Her disappearance and her mother's remain unsolved.
Investigating Agency / Department