TALLAHASSEE — Hilary Sessions on Monday quietly placed a yellow rose by the picture of her daughter, Tiffany, who disappeared more than 25 years ago. Her tribute was echoed by others who honored the memories of missing or murdered children during an emotional ceremony held on Florida Missing Children's Day.
"You take it one day at a time," said Sessions, a Tampa resident and director of the board of the Florida Missing Children's Day Foundation. Her daughter, a University of Florida student, vanished Feb. 9, 1989. Sessions spent much of the rally hugging and comforting parents. "You can feel the relief of these parents when they talk to someone who's been through this," she said.
Also lending support was Roy Brown, whose 7-year-old daughter Amanda was abducted on Sept. 11, 1998, from her mother's mobile home in Seffner.
Governors traditionally attend the ceremony, but Gov. Rick Scott Monday was in Winter Park and Kissimmee on campaign stops. Instead, first lady Ann Scott was at the event.
In addition to remembering lost children, the event also celebrates the efforts of students and law enforcement. Amber Nguyen of St. Petersburg Christian School won the Department of Justice Poster Contest.
Sgt. Kurt Romansky of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, and the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force were named the top Law Enforcement Task Force/Team of the Year.
Detective James McBride of the Clearwater Police Department, who has investigated and charged 50 traffickers in eight years, won the combating human sex trafficking award.