Missing: Zachary Bernhardt
Missing: Zachary Bernhardt
Eight-year-old Zachary Bernhardt vanished literally without a trace some 16 years ago so he is not a little child anymore, but he is still someone's child and he is still missing. Everything I found out about him, about his childhood and his controversial disappearance touched me deeply and inspired me to start this blog.
For these reasons my first post about missing children is dedicated to him.
On September the 11th 2000 at 4:47 a.m. Zachary's mother Leah Hackett (now Hanson) contacted the Police in Clearwater Florida and reported her son missing. The Police started the usual procedure shortly after her call. Despite the massive investigation with dozens of people involved, nobody could ever figure out what happened to Zachary that night or where he is now.
According to his mother, the evening before mysterious disappearance Zachary was watching TV with her until he fell asleep around 11.00 p.m. when she carried him over to her own bed.
Mom could not sleep but read a book, watched TV and spent some time online. At some point she left the home to drive a bag of garbage to the dumpster nearby. Thereafter she checked on Zachary who was peacefully sleeping in her bed.
Still awake despite late hours, she left the home again. This time she went out for a swim. She did not take a towel or swimsuits with her. She did not lock up the door on her way out.
Leah swam for a few minutes in her clothes that she was wearing on that evening. On her way back she was freezing so she went directly to the bath when she arrived home. After some 20 minutes under the hot shower, she checked on Zachary again.
The boy was not in the bed any longer, but everything else in their home seemed to be absolutely normal. As she could not find her son, Leah called the Police.
The questions which occurred that morning remain still today and with the time they divided the public in their opinions whether or not Zachary is likely to be found alive, as well as whether or not Zachary's mother has anything to do with his disappearance. Unfortunately these questions split up Zach's own family too.
Leah became exposed to very negative publicity not only because she left her son alone behind the unlocked door, but also due to her disordered lifestyle at the time, due to her bizarre story about swimming late that night, due to the fact that in the past she had lost custody over her daughter (Zach's baby sister) and due to the fact that she moved away from Clearwater and changed her surname after her son went missing.
On the other side, some other people witnessed that she had been a loving mother who adored her son and the only negative thing Zach had ever mentioned about his childhood was that they were poor.
Investigation remains open and it is still considered as top priority by local authorities.
Whatever scenario took place that night, I hope that Zachary Bernhardt will soon be reunited with his family.
Zachary Bernhardt - Not Alone