It's been one week since a 12-year-old Wakulla Girl was found in the arms of a registered sexual offender. Now, law enforcement, teachers and parents are taking a proactive approach to make sure their children aren't the next victims.
Following the disappearance of Briana Schultheis, many eyes are focused on sexual predators, ones that may be living in a neighborhood near you. That's why the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office keeps close tabs on their offenders with a collection of pictures and addresses.
Still, experts say those predators can be extremely manipulative when it comes to children.
MAJ Maurice Langston with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says, “They will begin telling the child how beautiful he or she is, they will give gifts.”
They even go so far as befriending family members, then creating rifts between the child and parents.
Langston says children with low self esteem are most likely targets of sexual predators. Education at the elementary level is imperative, that's why fifth graders in Wakulla County are in the SAVE program, which stands for Substance Abuse and Violence Education.
CPT Jim Griner of the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says, “We pretty much encompass everything from domestic violence to stranger danger to predators lurking out there to try and get them.”
Those predators are sometimes hard to recognize. Griner says they may even be rubbing shoulders with you at the grocery store or park, which is why he says tracking them down is as important as educating your children.
Visit the FDLE website for a sexual predators/offenders search.