Two days ago, an unbelievable story surfaced, about sightings of a little girl, who authorities believed had drowned at St. Andrew State Park a year ago.
The child's parents pointed to a little girl seen in some surveillance video in Jacksonville and Orlando, and said the child was their daughter, Jewel Strong, who did not drown, but was kidnapped and is alive and well.
Friday, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen says the unbelievable story is just that, unbelievable. McKeithen says the facts show the little girl in the video is a different child.
"We are absolutely, 100% sure the mother obviously made a mistake. This is not their daughter. Jewel Strong drowned."
With that statement McKeithen may have dashed the hopes of Simona Strong, the woman who insists the child seen in the video is her daughter, Jewel, who would now be 4-years old.
Jewel and her family were vacationing on Panama City Beach, in May 2006.
On May 28th, Jewel and an 18-year-old relative were on a raft just a few feet from the jetties at St. Andrew State Park. They flipped-over and fell into the water.
Sheriff McKeithen says a fisherman pulled the 18-year-old cousin out of the water, but Jewel never resurfaced.
"Eyewitnesses place her on the raft. Eyewitnesses saw Jewel slip beneath the seas. No one saw her surface again. No one saw her pulled from the water."
Although the family held a memorial service 6-days later, Jewel's parents refused to believe she'd drowned.
Then earlier this year, they began receiving tips that the girl was alive, and spotted at a number of businesses in Orlando and Jacksonville.
The Strong family even moved from their home in Atlanta to Jacksonville, to follow the leads.
But investigators say the girl in the video is not Jewel Strong.
"We were able, along with the help of Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to track these people down and contact them, talk with them. We have photos birth certificates we have all the information."
So if this girl is not jewel strong, what happened to her? Michael Zinszer of F-S-U Underwater C-S-I, who took part in the investigation has a theory.
"If an object was driven out of the kiddie pool beyond 50 feet of the Jetties. It could definitely be pulled out into the Gulf of Mexico."
Mckeithen went on to say his department cannot spend anymore time and resources investigating this case, that he believes was already solved on may 28, 2006, when 3-year-old Jewel Strong tragically drowned at St. Andrew State Park.
"While I admire the commitment and passion of Mr. and Mrs. Strong and their supporters. We in law enforcement can't be ruled by emotion we must follow the facts."
If you'd like to continue following this case, the Strong's have set-up a website to take tips and information. Log onto: www.letsfindjewelstrong.com