September 11th has special significance for the family of Zachary Bernhardt. They marked the anniversary of the little boy’s abduction on September 11, 2000 during the annual Missing Children’s Day ceremony at the Capitol.
Aunt Billie Jo Jiminez says it’s a painful day.
"This is six years this year. It’s emotional, but I’m glad that they honor him in Tallahassee and it gives my family a chance to honor him too," she said.
Three of the children honored during the ceremony disappeared on September 11, including the child for whom Florida’s Jimmy Ryce Act is named, a law that lets the state keep dangerous sexual predators locked up.
Jeb Bush also credited grieving parents for pushing through the Jessica Lunsford Act, with the toughest penalties in the country for child sex offenders.
"By putting a human face and a human context on a statistic, you move other people into action. You moved me and the Florida Legislature into action," Bush said.
Florida has long been recognized as a national leader in its child protection laws and response, but there is still more to do. Gov. Jeb Bush encouraged all parents to be on guard for the new threat of online predators, and suggest everyone monitor Amber Alerts.
But for the families of children still missing, he could only offer hope and prayers.
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