Legislation to keep more sex predators in prison longer under the Jimmy Ryce act moved another step closer to reality Wednesday at the State Capitol.
The passage comes as Juan Carlos Chavez is set to die tonight for the 1995 murder of Jimmy. Father Don Ryce is at Florida State Prison tonight to witness the execution, and the killing has taken a toll on the Ryce family.
Jimmy Ryce was just two weeks short of his tenth birthday when he was murdered by Juan Carlos Chavez.
From the beginning his parents fought for tougher sanctions against sexual predators, and although the legislation bears their son’s name they know it wouldn’t have saved him.
Don Ryce was Jimmy’s father. “Longer jail terms, civil commitment, any other things that we might do to make sure we don’t have a new victim.”
For years Don and Claudine Ryce placed a white rose next to Jimmy’s picture at the annual Missing Childrens Day. Jimmy’s was murdered a mile from his home and Claudine always believed a bloodhound would have saved him. She crusaded to have tracking dogs in every jurisdiction. “Because I really believe that Jimmy would be home and alive today if there had been a bloodhound. There was no bloodhound in South Florida for Jimmy.”
“We personally, have placed over 400 bloodhounds over the years in law enforcement agencies throughout the country.”
Jimmy’s death has taken a toll on the Ryce family. Mom Claudine died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2009. Sister Martha committed suicide last year. Don Ryce calls it: “a terrible loss. It’s a wound that will never heal.”
Saying the execution of his son’s killer won’t bring closure. “Closure would be bringing my dead son and my dead wife, and that won’t happen”
To this day Don Ryce continues his work to make children safer through the Jimmy Ryce Center.
The website for the Jimmy Ryce Center contains what mom Claudine named “GEMS” short for Great Escape Moves to help Children avoid Jimmy’s fate.