Jimmy Ryce Family Fights On

Twelve and a half years after his 9-year-old son was raped and murdered, a father continues to look for justice. The family of the murdered boy has spent more than a decade trying to make sure no other children are lost.

Jimmy Ryce was raped and murdered in 1995, just two weeks short of his 10th birthday. Andrea Norgaard, a lawyer for convicted killer Juan Chavez, was in the Florida Supreme Court arguing he didn’t know what he was doing when he waived his Miranda rights and confessed.

“To be told, you have the right to an attorney, would be meaningless to him based on his experiences in Cuba.”

The Court was highly skeptical, and the Attorney for the State, Scott Brown, said it didn’t matter.

“The murder weapon was found in his trailer with his fingerprint on it. Jimmy Ryce’s book bag was found in his trailer with his fingerprints on it. Jimmy’s body was found on his property.”

Regardless of what the court does with this case, most experts agree that because of Jimmy Ryce, and more importantly his parents, Florida’s children are safer today.

The Ryce’s helped create Florida’s Missing Children’s Day. They fought for laws to distribute pictures of the missing, to collect felons’ DNA, and to lock up predators indefinitely. Claudine Ryce died in January. Her absence at the court hearing was deafening.

Don Ryce is little Jimmy’s father.

“The day may never come when we totally eradicate this problem, but that’s what we’re going to shoot for. It’s not just Claudine and me. There’s a whole army of people who care.”

Don Ryce hopes to see his son’s killer executed. Says Ryce, “He’s already outlived two members of my family.”

There’s no timetable for the court to rule. But when it does, Don Ryce’s wish for an execution will be one step closer to being realized.

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