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Clearwater Police Use Florida Missing Children’s Day to Shed Light on 20 Year Old Cold Case

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It’s Florida Missing Children’s Day, and Clearwater Police are using the remembrance to shed light on a cold case that dates back 20 years.


What You Need To Know

  • 8-year-old Zachary Bernhardt was reported missing from his home on Sept. 11, 2000
  • Police say his mom went for an early morning walk and returned to find her son missing
  • Clearwater Police are using Florida Missing Children’s Day to shed light on the cold case
  • More Pinellas County News

Eight-year-old Zachary Bernhardt was reported missing on September 11, 2000, from his bedroom at his Drew Street Apartment Complex.

Detectives say Zachary’s Mom went for a walk before 5 a.m., and when she returned home she reported her son was not in his bed.

Since then police say there have been no leads or evidence that have led to answers.

“Time is always on our side,” said Lt. Michael Walek with Clearwater Police. “It could take one hour.  It could take two hours.  It could take ten years.  It could take 20 years.  It could take 21 years.  Somebody out there knows something and somebody is going to come forward.”

On Friday, Police met Zachary’s family at the Drew Street apartment complex to raise awareness of the cold case with hopes that the attention will lead to new evidence or someone that may come forward with information.

“Just to keep his face out there.  Their photograph is what brings them home,” said Zachary’s Aunt Billy-Jo Jimenez.  “I want people to realize that, you know, in Walmart and when you go into the post office and these fliers are there, look at these kids, you know what I’m saying?  His picture is what’s going to bring him home.”

460,000 kids are reported missing every year in the United States.

If you have information about any lost or exploited children, contact your local police or visit the National Center for Missing or Exploited Children.

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