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2023-2024 Florida Missing Children's Day Award Nominations 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC) is accepting nominations for the 2023-2024 Florida Missing Children's Day (FMCD) Awards.  FMCD recognizes citizens, law enforcement officers, and K9 trailing teams for their exemplary efforts when investigating missing persons or preventing child abductions and remembers Florida's missing children in a remembrance ceremony for their missing loved ones.

Please take a moment to consider individuals, who have gone above and beyond, for these prestigious awards. See links to the nomination forms below:

Citizen of the Year

Jimmy Ryce K9 Trailing Team of the Year

Combatting Human Trafficking Award

Law Enforcement Task Force of the Year

Local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

School Bus Operator of the Year

State / Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Young Hero Award

To submit a FMCD nomination, email the completed form as an attachment to  fmcd@fdle.state.fl.us. You may also mail the hard copies to:

 

Attention: Florida Missing Children's Day Coordinator
FDLE/MEPIC
P. O. Box 1489
Tallahassee, FL 32308-1489

The FMCD winners will be selected by the MEPIC Advisory Board. The awards will be presented at the ceremony on Monday, September 9, 2024, at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum. For further information, contact fmcd@fdle.state.fl.us.

2023 Florida Missing Children's Day Award Winners

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Missing and Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse (MEPIC) and MEPIC Advisory Board would like to congratulate the 2023 Florida Missing Children's Day (FMCD) award winners. FMCD features a formal award ceremony where citizens, law enforcement officers, and K9 trailing teams are recognized for their exemplary efforts when investigating missing persons, rescuing missing children, or preventing abductions.  

Below are the 2023 FMCD Award Winners. Please join us in recognizing their exemplary efforts in missing person issues and human trafficking. 

 You can watch previous Florida Missing Children's Day ceremonies via video by clicking here

 

National Anthem Contest

Florida Missing Children’s Day held their first National Anthem Contest in 2023, where middle schoolers Valentina, Landyn, and Brennan performed the National Anthem at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.

School Bus Operator of the Year

In September 2022, Ms. Renee Hill, with Brevard Public Schools, was driving her regular bus route when she noticed a 4-year-old child alone along the road. She immediately stopped the bus, directed her assistant to retrieve the child and called dispatch to inform them of the lost child. Ms. Hill and her assistant comforted the lost child while waiting for law enforcement. Because of her quick thinking, the child was safely reunited with his family.

DSC_4124_edited

Earlier this year, Detective Paul Osborn and K9 Jon Jon, from the Tallahassee Police Department, responded to a call from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office about a missing 4-year-old autistic child. Children with autism have a higher risk of drowning than others when they go missing. They located the child standing knee deep in water in good health.

Combatting Human Trafficking Award

Sergeant David Polce with the North Port Police Department, received a report in May, 2022, of a missing 15-year-old. The juvenile was picked up by an unknown person shortly after running away. Sergeant Polce received information the teenager was possibly heading to New York. As Sergeant Polce continued his investigation, he learned the girl was intentionally misleading those looking for her. He was able to locate the girl in Florida and bring her home.

Task Force/Team of the Year

Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO): Deputy Sheriff Nelson Tai Deputy Sheriff Daniel Bliss Detective Eric Phillips Investigator Teresa Jaap Susan Malcho FBI: Special Agent Rod Hyre Michelle Thorne Leslie Santos Sanford Police Department: Investigator David Thomas Kids House: Eunice Carasas-McIntosh

United States Marshals Service Deputy Marshal Price led the investigative and coordination efforts f

United States Marshals Service Deputy Marshal Mario Price led the investigative and coordination efforts for Operation We Will Find You. The operation resulted in the recovery of 34 missing juveniles from six counties. Deputy Marshal Price also oversaw the recovery of a 13-year-old human trafficking victim who was reported missing earlier this year.

Miami-Dade Police Department Detective Palmer lead an investigation that begin in August of 2022, wh

Miami-Dade Police Department Detective Roberto Palmer lead an investigation that begin in August of 2022, when a mother reported her 6-year-old son missing after his father failed to return him after a custody visit. Law enforcement discovered a handwritten letter outlining the father’s intention to disappear with the child and an AMBER Alert was issued. Thanks to Detective Palmer’s hard work, dedication, and leadership the child was found safely and returned back to his mother.

John and Revé Walsh Award

Mr. Todd Raleigh, joined DCF 17 years ago. Over the last several years, his efforts in Northwest Florida contributed to a reduced number of runaways from foster care and juvenile pick up orders, from an average of one per week to only two or three per year.

Evelyn Williams Memorial Award

Ms. Kim Figueroa, with More too Life, uses her expertise and knowledge to assist law enforcement agencies with human trafficking cases. She has completed over 120 training hours on human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. In addition, she recently assisted the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in a multi-jurisdictional human trafficking case involving a minor which resulted in the arrest of four individuals.

Commissioner's Award

Ms. Demetris Crump, an employee of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), worked two different cases to prevent human trafficking that resulted in two minors being removed from unsafe conditions.

Citizen of the Year

A 2-year-old boy went missing earlier this year from Brooksville, Florida. The child was not located within the first 24 hours despite extensive searching. Mr. Roy Link, a retired Hernando County Parks Department manager and former Marine, joined the search and heard whimpers coming from the woods. He located the child, kept him safe and called 911 to report their location.

2023 FMCD Billboard_picked

Florida Missing Children’s Day recognizes Florida’s 5th grade poster and essay contest winners, Fabian and Isabella. The goal of these contests is to provide teachers, families and communities the opportunity to discuss ways for children to stay safe from abduction. Fabian’s poster placed third nationally and is a powerful reminder that even one missing child is too many. Isabella’s essay highlights several tips to resist and prevent abduction.

Everyday Hero Award

The Everyday Hero Award is presented to an individual in Florida who works to prevent child endangerment and promote child safety. We are proud to recognize Destinee this year for her bravery in reporting a dangerous situation at her school. Destinee did what was right when others chose not to. She chose courage and confidence in herself and acted following her beliefs, especially when faced with criticism from her peers. We congratulate Destinee on her courage to act and protect students.

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