TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- On Monday September 9, law enforcement officers from across the state will gather in Tallahassee to take part in Florida Missing Children's Day.
The event was started in 1999 to honor law enforcement officers and civilians across Florida who have assisted in missing children cases.
Detective Lori Colombino is one of those being honored. She helped assist with a missing child case in West Palm Beach that resulted with detectives finding an infant who was kidnapped.
Also getting an award is Officer Mauricio Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos recently transferred to the department after working as a state trooper for Florida Highway Patrol. During his time as a trooper he also helped recover an infant who was abducted.
Meanwhile, authorities are also focusing on those missing children cases that haven't been solved yet.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, every year more than 800,000 children go missing. Many of those reported missing are considered runaways.
In West Palm Beach, detectives are working to track down several runaways, including Ruby Mack. Police tell us Mack may still be in the area, and in the company of a local pimp. They fear he could harm her if they don't find her soon.
Capt. David Bernhardt says, "That's the one that are detectives in the community are somewhat concerned about now, knowing she's in the area someplace, not wanting to be found. And not being with the most upright citizens."
Another large majority of missing kids are those who get abducted by their own family members. More than 200,000 kids each year are abducted by family.
Police ask residents to be vigilant when out in the community. If you spot a child that looks like it may be malnourished and seems uncomfortable with the person they're with, that the child may be one of those who police are searching for.
Capt. Bernhardt says, "If you think you're wasting your time calling law enforcement to ask us to go check some person out, you're not. We would rather make sure that this person is safe and with somebody they should be than you not calling and us missing an opportunity."
Also, police urge you to teach your child about how to react around a stranger, and to always be aware of your surroundings.
For more information on missing children, visit:
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