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Cody resided with his father, Richard Lee Haynes Sr., his four sisters, and Richard's girlfriend, Marla Jaye Harding (sometimes referred to as "Maria Jane Hardin" or "Marla Harding-Haynes"), in a second-floor apartment in the 100 block of north Main Street in downtown Kittitas, Washington in 2004.
Cody disappeared from his family's home between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. on September 12, 2004. He had refused to wash the dishes and Harding punished him by making him sit at the kitchen table for four hours before sending him to his bedroom at about midnight the previous day. Harding told Cody's sisters not to go near his room and told Cody not to leave the room for any reason. Evidently, no one checked on him for close to eighteen hours afterwards. Richard was at work when Cody was sent to his room, but came home later and then left the house in the early morning hours to look for car parts. He did not return until 4:00 p.m.
Cody apparently slipped out unnoticed during this time and arranged his stuffed animals on the bed to make it look like he was asleep. He took a black and green camouflage-patterned bag of clothing with him, but it was later found in a shed near his house. Investigators believe Cody may have hidden the bag there and planned to return for it later. His bicycle was also found in the shed.
There were a few possible sightings of Cody in the local area shortly after his disappearance. A neighbor may have seen him the morning he disappeared, and someone believes they saw him eating potato chips at Johnny's Serv-U later that day. Neither sighting has been confirmed.
Richard notified the police that Cody was gone after he arrived home again that afternoon. Authorities believed at first that the boy had run away from home because he was unhappy at the way he was disciplined, and that he might try to travel to his mother, who lives in Florida. Cody did not arrive in Florida and his mother has been eliminated as a suspect in his disappearance.
A week after Cody vanished, his sisters were removed from their father's home and placed into foster care. The removal order alleged abuse, neglect and lack of supervision in the household and was based mainly on the fact that the girls' brother, Cody, had been made to stay in his room for eighteen hours without being allowed to eat, drink, or use the toilet and without being checked on by an adult. Harding stated that he was a rebellious and deceitful child and needed discipline. Cody's sisters have since between declared dependent by the state and are doing well in foster homes.
Richard and Harding, who married sometime after September 2004, have hired lawyers and will not cooperate with investigators about Cody's disappearance. The rest of his family has cooperated fully with police. Before the Haynes children were taken from their home, Richard refused to allow police to question them. The family has a history with Washington Child Protection Services (CPS); late in 2001 and again in 2002, Richard was reported to CPS for possibly physically and emotionally abusing and neglecting his children. Witnesses stated that the Haynes children were made to stand outside for long periods in the wintertime without coats or shoes. Both times the allegations were found to be without merit. Cody was in the sixth grade in 2004; he and his sisters were originally public school students, but became home-schoolers after the CPS complaints were made.
Cody may have left of his own accord, but after receiving the information from his sister investigators announced that he could be the victim of a homicide. They have no evidence that he was killed inside his home, but the fact that he has not been heard from in so long is indicative that he met with foul play. Due to his age and family background, Cody is considered to be in danger. His case was turned over to the FBI in October 2005; it remains unsolved.