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View Full Version : FL FL - Zachary Michael-Cole Bernhardt, 8, Clearwater, 11 Sept 2000


emma l
08-18-2004, 11:11 AM
I'm posting this link cause I can't find the old thread- but I'm sure we had one.....anyway if there is one can somebody please merge!

I found some new info on him and I wanted to post it. Found it while I was looking for Tara Leight Calico info and I posted on there was well.

ZACHARY MICHAEL-COLE BERNHARDT
Missing Date: Sep 11, 2000
Race: White
Age Now: 12
Height: 4'6" (137 cm)
Missing City: CLEARWATER

Heres the link to his missing persons page
http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=viewChildDetail&caseNum=894757&orgPrefix=NCMC&seqNum=1&caseLang=en_US&searchLang=en_US

For anyone that doesnt know this case, Zack went missing from his Clearwater Apartment after his mum went out to take a walk at 2am (!). There was much speculation at the time about this statement- but no clues whatsoever were ever found in Zacks dissaperance. He was wearing only boxer shorts and a t-shirt and there were no signs of a struggle.

Ive posted an article with a bit more info. This child had a rough upbringing...
http://www.sptimes.com/News/091300/TampaBay/A_boy_sunny_amid_stor.shtml

Anyway this is the new info I found by accident...A photo,a convienience store, bound and gagged..........I don't know whether this child is Zack or not, but the similarites between the photos found and Tara Leigh Calicos shouldn't be ignored. Theres still a child in this photo whos out there somewhere...

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/958923/detail.html

VespaElf
08-18-2004, 06:14 PM
Very interesting Emma(although seeing the photo of the little boy tied up made me ill).

I know one of the found Tara photos(and I do belive at the least 2 of the 3 are of her) also showed a bound boy so it wouldnt be a stretch for her captors to abduct a boy as well although Zach's case ,imo,seems to point to someone close to the family.


This is another case that shouldve gotten more attention!!!!

Mom who cares
08-18-2004, 06:49 PM
That photo is very disturbing, as are the others of the possible "Tara" photos. I don't recall, does this boy look like the one in the back of the van in the other photos?

emma l
08-19-2004, 06:01 AM
I thought about the photo all last night- its horrible.......Although the boy in the back of the van with Tara couldn't possibly be Zack cause of the time frame, it weirdly, does look a bit like him (in that he's blonde and blue- eyed). Thats another weird connection that I hadn't thought of..............

I also read many articles pointing to a family member regarding Zacks dissapearace....................I wonder why it wasn't v high profile? Maybe the suspicion of a family member put the media off? I seem to remember that the mother refused to do hardly any press and it was mostly the auntie who tried to get publicity for Zacks case........................

emma l
04-05-2005, 12:37 PM
Bump.............................x

emma l
06-10-2005, 08:27 AM
Family and friends of missing Zachary Michael Cole Bernhardt have set up a support group website for families of missing or abducted children.

http://keepingthelighton.org/

Please take a moment to think of Zack and look at his photo- I couldn't find one new piece of information on this case.......... x

OriginalJerseyGirl
06-10-2005, 02:59 PM
Thanks for posting the website, emma.

SadieJane
09-27-2005, 05:00 AM
This case really gets to me. Zachary looks like such a sweet kid in his photographs...

Has there been any new information about the photograph released? It seems like with the crazy computer stuff they can do nowadays they should be able to somehow determine if the faces are similar.

I don't know that I think it is him. I remember the photographs at the bottom of this http://www.pollyklaas.org/missing/kids/page.jsp?itemID=27044198 webpage, and iirc they were taken right before Zach's disappearance. In the photos, he has a deep tan and short blond hair, but the boy in the link Emma posted as pale skin and a "bowl cut" hair do. Could this have been a Dylan Groene type abduction-- was Zach kept alive and transported around the country?

He does sort of remind me of Dylan-- same age, both abducted from their homes at night, they even sort of look alike. Not saying that Duncan was involved, just food for thought.

Usher737
09-27-2005, 04:41 PM
I wonder how well police interviewed offenders living in the area? I think someone had to have seen the mother taking her walk and went in and took Zachary. I dont think this was totally random, more like, a crime of opportunity.

SewingDeb
09-28-2005, 02:36 AM
This case really gets to me. Zachary looks like such a sweet kid in his photographs...

Has there been any new information about the photograph released? It seems like with the crazy computer stuff they can do nowadays they should be able to somehow determine if the faces are similar.

I don't know that I think it is him. I remember the photographs at the bottom of this http://www.pollyklaas.org/missing/kids/page.jsp?itemID=27044198 webpage, and iirc they were taken right before Zach's disappearance. In the photos, he has a deep tan and short blond hair, but the boy in the link Emma posted as pale skin and a "bowl cut" hair do. Could this have been a Dylan Groene type abduction-- was Zach kept alive and transported around the country?

He does sort of remind me of Dylan-- same age, both abducted from their homes at night, they even sort of look alike. Not saying that Duncan was involved, just food for thought.

I thought of Duncan immediately. Is it possible he was in the area?

fran
10-04-2005, 04:12 PM
I thought of Duncan immediately. Is it possible he was in the area?

JED was released from prison, I believe in Sept.or Oct. of 2000 and he immediately went to ND to be with Dr.Wacksman, so I don't think he's involved here. Shortly after JED's sexual offender status came to light and the Dr. stuck up for him, the doc and his wife and family moved to Florida. So don't forget about JED when looking at 'child disappearances' in Florida. JED went there many times, probably more than we know about.



JMHO
fran

emma l
05-17-2007, 06:25 AM
Bump. No new information at all I'm afraid.

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-22-2007, 04:37 PM
I can't believe how long it's been with no information. :(

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-22-2007, 04:39 PM
Various photos and age-progressed photo from the Charley Project:

The Charley Project: Zachary Michael-Cole Bernhardt (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/b/bernhardt_zachary.html)

Also info about a possible POI.

Kevin Jalbert, who resides near Bernhardt's home, told an acquaintance that he was a child murderer and was prepared to find another victim in early 2001. Authorities learned about Jalbert's comments and began tracking his movements. He attempted to solicit an undercover officer for assistance in a child abduction, rape and murder in September 2001. He was arrested shortly afterwards. Jalbert's sister said that he is a chronic liar and exaggerates to receive attention.

DNA samples taken from Jalbert did not match available evidence in Bernhardt's case, but authorities looked into the possibility that Jalbert was involved in the child's disappearance. Investigators found child pornography Web sites on Jalbert's home computer. It was determined that he visited a nearby landfill approximately two weeks after Bernhardt's disappearance...

In January 2002, a five-year-old boy was kidnapped from the same apartment complex Bernhardt disappeared from...

Bernhardt is described as an intelligent and cheerful child who excelled in school, where he was a third-grader. His mother and his father, who was absent from Bernhardt's life, have both been ruled out as suspects in his disappearance.

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, blue eyes. Bernhardt has scars under his chin, between on his eyes on the bridge of his nose and on the right side of his upper lip. His nickname is Zach (it may be spelled "Zack"). Some agencies may refer to him as "Zachary Michael Bernhardt."

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-22-2007, 04:48 PM
Name: Zachary M. Bernhardt
AKA: Michael Cole

Texas Department of Public Safety - Courtesy, Service, Protection (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/MPCH/mpdetails.asp?id='M10/15/20014:58:18PM')

missacorah
05-23-2007, 02:05 PM
So was the boy who went missing from the same apartment complex in 2002 ever found or is he still missing?

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-23-2007, 02:09 PM
The 5 year-old boy, thankfully, was recovered alive. This is what it says about him:

The boy said his abductor put him in a car and drove for ten hours. The boy was left alive in a trash bin in Bushnell, Florida and he was rescued by a passing motorist. He had been sexually assaulted. Investigators looked into the possibility that the 2002 kidnapping and the Bernhardt case were connected, but eventually discarded the theory.

Sleuthster
05-24-2007, 08:26 PM
Wow, I live next to Clearwater and I spent my honeymoon in Dillon Co 2 years ago. It is a small world. Sort of sad. I remember when he disapeared. I always thought it was odd that the mother was out for a 15 minute walk at 2 am and then he disapeared.

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-24-2007, 08:57 PM
I've always found the 2 a.m. walk odd too. It just seems like such a strange decision, IMO, to leave a child alone at 2 in the morning, even for "just" 15 minutes.

Sleuthster
05-24-2007, 11:06 PM
I've always found the 2 a.m. walk odd too. It just seems like such a strange decision, IMO, to leave a child alone at 2 in the morning, even for "just" 15 minutes.

Yes, very odd. I mean if it was some preditor it seems odd that he was waiting in the shadows on that specific date at 2 am and coinsidently the mom decided to go for a walk at the same moment. I am just not geting something here, I mean there is something definately not adding up.

I have lived in Pinellas county most of my life and rarely hear of stranger abductions happening. Most of the cases (ie missing children,adults, murders, etc) are domestic related.

You do have the rare cases like Jennifer Odom and Jessica Lunsford.

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-24-2007, 11:19 PM
I agree that that's an awfully convenient coincidence that an abductor just happened to be there on the very date and at the very time that the mom went out. The only way that would make sense to me is if the mother did this somewhat regularly and a local predator noticed and waited for the next time. Sadly, that's entirely possible.

Sleuthster
05-25-2007, 09:16 AM
I agree that that's an awfully convenient coincidence that an abductor just happened to be there on the very date and at the very time that the mom went out. The only way that would make sense to me is if the mother did this somewhat regularly and a local predator would noticed and waited for the next time. Sadly, that's entirely possible.

OR; That is was a neighbor. That would make sense also but then it would make it somewhat improbable that the pic found in Dillon,Co was him. I am sure they probably checked out the neighbors.

OriginalJerseyGirl
05-25-2007, 10:24 AM
I don't know the whole story behind the picture that was found or about the "Tara photos". I did see the picture and remember that I didn't think that it was Zachary.

In any case, even if it was a neighbor, it could still be Zachary in that pic. found in Colorado, couldn't it? Zachary could have been taken elsewhere or handed off to someone else, I suppose.

Mafitz
05-31-2007, 05:38 PM
I've always found the 2 a.m. walk odd too. It just seems like such a strange decision, IMO, to leave a child alone at 2 in the morning, even for "just" 15 minutes.

I have to confess to being guilty of that very thing back when I was a single mother and going through severe money troubles. I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't stop worrying, so I would end up walking around the complex I lived in. My oldest daughter was a toddler at the time, and asleep inside. I always locked the door but I would go outside for some air and to look up at the sky, anything to try to clear my head. 15 minutes was about right too.

Seriousely, sometimes when you are so bad off that you are looking at you and your child being homeless, but working a full-time job and bringing in money, yet have no control over the downward spiral that is happening. You hate yourself, you are scared to death, you want to kill yourself, but you are scared to death for the future your kid could get stuck with. You go over it and over it until you feel like you will just blow, and getting outside to clear you head works, especially at night because everything is calm.

Spazkat9696
06-01-2007, 11:00 AM
What the hell is wrong with people? This picture makes me sick. I know there are really bad people out there, but for someone to take a child from their home to pass them around for this kind of thing is SICK SICK SICK. If they ever catch someone who did something like this they should just let them be passed around prison like they passed around children. I'm sure the treatment would be about the same and in the end they will meet the same fate their victims did.

OriginalJerseyGirl
06-01-2007, 04:29 PM
Mafitz, I totally respect your honesty and you're right - single parenting is hard. It's been so long since I've been in that situation that I sometimes forget. I can understand what you mean about sometimes just needing to step outside and collect your thoughts once in a while. And honestly, we should be able to do that at any time without worrying that someone will abduct our children. Sick, sad world sometimes.

Mafitz
06-08-2007, 12:31 PM
Mafitz, I totally respect your honesty and you're right - single parenting is hard. It's been so long since I've been in that situation that I sometimes forget. I can understand what you mean about sometimes just needing to step outside and collect your thoughts once in a while. And honestly, we should be able to do that at any time without worrying that someone will abduct our children. Sick, sad world sometimes.

Thank you Jersey. I know his mom has to be feeling like heck right now because had she not gone on the walk he would likely have not been taken.

OriginalJerseyGirl
06-08-2007, 05:27 PM
I can't even imagine the horrendous "what ifs". That's got to be a life of pure hell.

Sleuthster
01-20-2009, 11:38 AM
* bump for Zachary*

Anything new on this case?
Another of the Tampa Bay area's cold cases that I would like to see solved.

How does a little boy just go "missing" without someone hearing or seeing something? This case has always baffeled me.

Patty G
09-12-2009, 10:15 AM
A-Z Missing Children Outreach Remember Zachery Bernhardt on 9/11/09

YouTube - Anthony's Attend A Z Missing Children Outreach 91109 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64Q5p3CksIg)

hoppyfrog
09-20-2009, 11:21 PM
http://www.tbnweekly.com/pubs/clearwater_beacon/content_articles/091409_clw-01.txt

14 Sept 09

Clearwater police are still searching for clues in the 2000 disappearance of a Clearwater boy.

An age-progression picture was recently released for Zachary Bernhardt who disappeared from his Clearwater home on Sept. 11, 2000 when he was 8.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released the photo of what he might look like at age 17.

Bernhardt has a scar on the bridge of his nose, under his chin and on the upper right side of his lip.

The case is still active and detectives are asking for the public’s help to find him.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Clearwater Department Tip Line at 562-4422.

pics
http://www.tbnweekly.com/content_images/091409_clw-01.jpg
On the left is a photo of Zach Bernhardt at age 8 when he went missing. On the right is an age-progressed picture recently released by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children showing what Bernhardt may look like at age 17.

mysterygirl
09-21-2009, 10:02 AM
Various photos and age-progressed photo from the Charley Project:

The Charley Project: Zachary Michael-Cole Bernhardt (http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/b/bernhardt_zachary.html)

Also info about a possible POI.

Kevin Jalbert, who resides near Bernhardt's home, told an acquaintance that he was a child murderer and was prepared to find another victim in early 2001. Authorities learned about Jalbert's comments and began tracking his movements. He attempted to solicit an undercover officer for assistance in a child abduction, rape and murder in September 2001. He was arrested shortly afterwards. Jalbert's sister said that he is a chronic liar and exaggerates to receive attention.

DNA samples taken from Jalbert did not match available evidence in Bernhardt's case, but authorities looked into the possibility that Jalbert was involved in the child's disappearance. Investigators found child pornography Web sites on Jalbert's home computer. It was determined that he visited a nearby landfill approximately two weeks after Bernhardt's disappearance...

In January 2002, a five-year-old boy was kidnapped from the same apartment complex Bernhardt disappeared from...

Bernhardt is described as an intelligent and cheerful child who excelled in school, where he was a third-grader. His mother and his father, who was absent from Bernhardt's life, have both been ruled out as suspects in his disappearance.

Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male. Blond hair, blue eyes. Bernhardt has scars under his chin, between on his eyes on the bridge of his nose and on the right side of his upper lip. His nickname is Zach (it may be spelled "Zack"). Some agencies may refer to him as "Zachary Michael Bernhardt."

Something caught my eye in what you said.....wondering what DNA in Bernhardt's case was available where it was compared with this POI? Or the other way around?

I hope that Zach did not happen to wake up when his mother left for a walk (which is odd at 2AM, sorry) and go after her outside where he happened to be abducted. This is just a weird case. Poor little boy.

The other thing I worry about is that the mother did something to the boy because of her financial circumstances.....

Sleuthster
06-13-2010, 09:23 AM
Bump for Zachary.................

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed
09-11-2010, 05:08 PM
After 10 years, search for Zachary Bernhardt goes on

By the spring of 2001, 8-year-old Zachary Bernhardt had been missing for seven months. Scores of investigators had chased down hundreds of tips and found nothing.

[snip]

To this day, Zachary's case is the only active, long-term investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a young child in Pinellas County.

[snip]

Zach was in third grade when he disappeared in the predawn hours of Sept. 11, 2000 — 10 years ago today. He and his mother, Leah Hackett (now Leah Hanson), were alone in the apartment when she went for a walk around the apartment complex about 4 a.m., she told investigators.

Zach was asleep in his bed when she left, she said. When she returned about 15 minutes later, he was gone.

[snip]

Today, on the 10th anniversary of Zach's disappearance, they'll gather at the Courtney Campbell Parkway with Roy Brown, whose 7-year-old daughter, Amanda, went missing exactly two years to the day before Zach. She has never been found but is presumed dead. A Seffner man is on death row for her murder.


Much much more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/after-10-years-search-for-zachary-bernhardt-goes-onbr-br-/1120808

SheWhoMustNotBeNamed
09-13-2010, 08:55 PM
Still Missing, 25 Children Still Gone

The families of 25 missing children are asking the public to take another look. Their children were honored today at the state capitol at the 12th annual Missing Children’s Day ceremony. Some of the kids have been missing for more than a decade, but as Whitney Ray tells us, family members haven’t given up on their safe return.

It’s been 10 years since Zack Bernhardt was taken from his Clearwater home. His aunt and grandmother were at the state capitol Monday pleading for his safe return.

“Today I get weak. And on his birthday,” said Carole Bernhardt.

More: http://www.flanews.com/?p=10410

LMax
01-07-2011, 09:06 PM
bumping

gumshoemamma
01-07-2011, 09:27 PM
I remember this case, I was 19 years old and worked just around the corner at the time of his dissapearance and I attended elementary school right behind the complex when I was younger. I remember at the time being VERY suspicious of the mom. She had said that she walked all the way around the complex but IIRC a neighbor came forward and said that they saw a car pull up and drop her off around the time in question. I have thought if this child often wondering if they will ever find him. I will see if I can find a news link about the car/drop off, I don't really think that the picture is of him though, but you never know.


ETA: http://www.sptimes.com/News/091300/TampaBay/A_boy_sunny_amid_stor.shtml This is the article but apparently the cops discounted the neighbors statement. It also talks in this article about her needing a restraining order against a man, and that zachary was scared of him. I wonder if they were able to rule this man out?