Missing Children's Day marked by Bay Area families

- Zach Bernhardt was 8 when he was taken from his mother's Clearwater apartment in September of 2000.

By who, and to where is unknown.

"We have nothing to know where Zach is," said his grandmother, Carole Bernhardt. "Therefore we keep looking. Now we look for men. (It's) terrible. We used to look for a little boy. Now we have to look for a man."

FDLE lists Zach as one of nine children who are missing and in danger.

"I would like to believe he is alive," said BJ Jimenez, Zach's aunt. "As a family, we always want him to be taken by somebody who took care of him, and just wanted a child."

Drew Kesse's adult daughter, Jennifer, disappeared in 2006.

"People still look," he said. "People still call in, which we are incredibly grateful for because one day it's going to be the real thing."

Yet after 1,500 leads since her car was found a mile from her home in Orlando, they know little more than they did then.

"Why is it not the number one priority?" he asked. "You should not be able to be missing in America."

He believes his daughter was abducted by international traffickers.

"You either get eaten up by it, and you sit in a corner and cry, and shrivel up and die, or you live it, and you give your loved one the best chance of still being found."

Carole Bernhardt says those with missing children are a community bound by the horror they live in.

"Whenever you get an Amber Alert, or you see a child who is missing, or you see a child alone sitting there crying, go ask them if they are alright," said Bernhardt. "Keep looking for these missing children."

Just last year, 33,366 children were reported missing.

Of course, most are quickly found, but law enforcement says quickly reporting any problem is the first step in avoiding a long nightmare.

FDLE lists all missing children in Florida at this website: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MCICSearch/UnsolvedAlerts.asp

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