Nearly 50,000 children are reported missing every year in Florida alone. Most are runaways, and many are eventually reunited with their families, but some never make it back home.
The murdered and the missing were remembered Thursday at the Capitol.
Susan Bell got a hug from the governor and carried a yellow rose to place before the picture of her missing 14-year-old daughter, Danielle. Dani was last seen leaving a party with a couple of men three years ago. She’s presumed dead, and her mother wants to see her killers brought to justice.
Susan Bell says, “If something is not done this is going to happen again. These guys are sexual predators of young girls.”
The Florida Missing Children’s Day ceremony reopens painful wounds for parents of murdered and missing youngsters, but they also say it’s important to bring attention to this crisis.
Florida has become a national leader in the effort to solve missing child cases through the use of computers and DNA technology. Activist John Walsh, whose little boy Adam was kidnapped and murdered more than 20 years ago, says the young victims would be grateful.
John says, “If they could come back for a minute, and the children who are still missing, if they all were here, right here today, they would say thank you, thank you for not forgetting about us.”
The missing children’s ceremony was broadcast by schools throughout Florida. Gov. Jeb Bush hopes it helps families start difficult discussions.
Bush says, “There are a lot of sickos out there that are abducting children. Children may have issues on their minds that don’t relate to abductions that they need to communicate with their parents, and parents need to help their children understand that there are some simple things that they can do to prevent abductions.”
The moms and dads of these innocent victims hope by sharing their pain they can raise awareness and perhaps save another young life.
For more information on missing children, go to www.missingchildren.com.