WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- A.J. Schwarz would be 26 years old this year.
But he never had the chance to enjoy middle school, high school, and beyond because the Lake Worth boy's life was cut short on May 2, 1993.
At first it appeared A.J. drowned in the family pool, but his stepmother, Jessica Schwarz, was later found guilty of second degree murder and criminal child abuse.
This is a story former State Attorney Scott Cupp knows well.
Cupp was the prosecutor in the Schwarz case and he wrote about the case with Carol Rothgeb in the book 'No One Can Hurt Him Anymore.'
Cupp talked about the case Tuesday at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Child Death Investigation Seminar.
"You've gotta dig deeper and that's what the investigators did in A.J.'s case and it paid off," says Cupp.
Investigative experts provided child crime tips and advice to officers, deputies, and detectives from smaller agencies from Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties.
Registration fees were taken care of by the PBSO Special Investigations Division.
PBSO deputies say it is the first seminar of its kind in South Florida and it won't be the last.
PBSO plans to hold similar seminars annually.
Sgt. Patrick Bolton and the Special Investigations Division instituted the effort for one simple reason.
"You're talking about small children dying that don't have a voice for themselves and their only voice to be heard is with the detectives through their investigation," says Bolton.
Sgt. Bolton says the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office handled 14 child deaths in 2008 and 17 the year before.
Many, like A.J.'s case, don't start out in the 'suspicious case' category.
But with good detective work they change sending those responsible behind bars.
Jessica Schwarz is now serving a 70-year prison term.
Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.