Families of missing children gather to help stop abduction

Family members and other representatives of four missing Southwest Florida children will rally for child safety Thursday in Tallahassee.

They and people connected to high-profile missing child cases across the state will take part in Florida Missing Children’s Day, a ceremony planned for outside the statehouse. Among them will be Rita Hernandez, whose daughter, Diana Alvarez, has been missing from their San Carlos Park home since May 2016.

“I want to meet people who might be able to help me after a year and a half of not knowing anything about my little girl,” Hernandez said. “I hope it can help me find a solution and learn what else I can do to move forward.”

The annual event is designed to remember the missing children and recognize the state’s efforts to protect others. It’s also meant to help increase public awareness of child safety and abduction prevention methods.

Lt. Governor Carlos López-Cantera, Florida First Lady Ann Scott and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen are among the public officials expected to attend.

Diana Alvarez

  • She was 9 when her family last saw her in bed at their home on Unique Circle in San Carlos Park on May 29, 2016.

Adji Desir

  • The 7-year-old was last seen playing outside his grandmother’s house in Immokalee on Jan. 10, 2009.

Wendy Hudakoc

  • The Naples High School freshman was 14 years old on Nov. 15, 1998, when she left a house party in Naples and never came home.

Jabez Spann

  • The 14-year-old was last seen on Sept. 4 at a Labor Day barbecue with his family, a week after witnessing a homicide.

Also in attendance will be representatives of Coralrose Fullwood, who was abducted, raped and killed in September 2006.

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