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Missing Children Remembered at State Capitol

December 14th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
For the nineteenth time the names of Florida’s missing children were read aloud to a somber audience, and through the tears of families.
A rose given to each family by Florida’s First Lady, is placed next to a photo of their missing loved one.
Teresa Neves has been coming to the ceremony since 2009, when her granddaughter HaLeigh Cummings went missing.
“It’s very hard to have your child missing,” said Neves.
Despite years passing, the pain of losing a child never gets easier for a family, but at this event they have comfort of knowing they’re surrounded by people who have shared similar experiences.
“This is probably one of the hardest things to do every year, but it’s also one of the most supportive,” said Neves.
The event also honors Law Enforcement and others who have helped bring missing children home.
“We recognize citizens, bus drivers. It’s important that we have the children here and we talk about child protection and child safety,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
Polk County Deputy Jacob Durrance and his Bloodhound Chase won K-9 Trailing Team of the Year after they helped bring a suicidal 16-year-old girl home after she was reported missing. It’s his second time at the ceremony.
“It motivates me to keep doing the best job that i can so that we can return every child home,” said Durrance.
Last year, 33,000 incidents of missing children were reported to Florida law enforcement.
So far this year, 10 AMBER Alerts have been issued.
Since the program’s inception it’s helped rescue 69 children.
Each day roughly 2,000 children are reported missing in the United States. You can sign up to receive AMBER Alerts by text message by visiting www.missingchildrenalert.com.

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