TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The annual event to remember Florida's missing children drew hundreds of people in addition to state officials.
Florida's 19th annual Missing Children's Day was held at the state capitol Thursday, to remember the kids who were kidnapped and killed, as well as those who haven't been found.
Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera and First Lady Ann Scott joined Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen at the event.
Each family of missing children put a yellow rose next to a photo of their loved one, during a somber ceremony in the capitol courtyard.
Dan Campbell's 14-year-old step-daughter, Wendy Hudakoc, went missing from her Naples home 19 years ago and hasn't been seen since. Campbell says, meeting with families going through the same situation helps with the healing process.
"People say time heals all wounds," said Campbell. "Well, it doesn't heal all wounds, but meeting with different people and other families who know what you have been through, what you are going through, and what you are going to go through in the future. That is definitely helpful."
During the ceremony, awards were presented to students for essays and drawings about "stranger danger."
Several law enforcement officers, police dogs and a school bus drivers were also honored for stopping potential kidnappings across the state.
Gov. Rick Scott said his heart goes out to the parents and families who have experienced the heartache of a missing child.
"Florida is now at a 46-year crime low thanks to our hardworking law enforcement officers and we will keep fighting to protect those most vulnerable in our state," Scott said.
In 2016, more than 33,000 incidents of missing children were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies and 12 AMBER Alerts were issued statewide.
Since its inception, 218 AMBER Alerts have been issued, including 10 so far this year. AMBER Alerts have directly aided in the rescue of 69 children
To see a current list of unsolved AMBER Alert cases, visit: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MCICSearch/UnsolvedAlerts.asp
A current list of unsolved Missing Child Alert cases can be found here: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MCICSearch/UnsolvedMCAlerts.asp
FDLE invites the public to follow FDLE on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to receive Missing Child and AMBER Alerts via email or text message by visiting www.missingchildrenalert.com. For more information about the Florida Missing Children’s Day Foundation, visit www.fmcdf.org.
MOBILE USERS: Download our WTXL news app on your Apple and Android devices for the latest from South Georgia and North Florida. Also, download our WTXL Weather Now app for Apple and Android devices to get the latest local weather wherever you go.
Copyright 2017 WTXL via Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.