8 year old Zachary Bernhardt was last seen on September 11, 2000 in Clearwater, Florida. He disappeared from his apartment in the early morning hours, and hasn’t been seen since.
Zachary went missing while living with his mother, Leah Hackett, on the 2600 block of Drew Street in Clearwater, Florida. His mother told the police that she left their apartment around 3 a.m. on September 11 to go swimming and for a walk. When she left, Zachary was asleep, she said.
She says that Zachary was gone when she got home around 4:00 am and that she reported him missing. Since then, no one has heard from him.
Many searches of the area turned up no clues as to where Zachary was. Investigators think that Leah Hackett knows more about what happened than she has told them. She says she has nothing to do with her son’s disappearance and has since moved out of state. Zachary’s dad has never had anything to do with him and hasn’t been named as a suspect in the case.
In 2001, a tip led police to a suspect named Kevin Jalbert. It was Jalbert’s proud moment that he killed a boy in Clearwater and got away with it. Jalbert took a police officer undercover to Zachary’s apartment building and told them that he had taken a boy from there. Police say he pointed to the wrong apartment and gave the wrong description of Zachary’s clothes. Jalbert asked an undercover officer for help with a kidnapping, rape, and murder while he was being watched.
When police asked Jalbert about taking Zachary, he denied doing it. Police did find a receipt that showed Jalbert going to a dump two weeks after Zachary went missing. Investigators looked all over the landfill but could not find any sign of Zachary. Some of Jalbert’s DNA doesn’t match any of the evidence in Zachary’s case.
Investigators couldn’t prove that Jalbert had anything to do with Zachary’s case, but they did find child pornography on his computer. He was charged and given a 40-year prison sentence.
Zachary was eight years old when he was last seen on September 11, 2000. Zachary has blonde hair and blue eyes. He was about 4’6″ tall and weighed about 60 pounds when he went missing. He has scars under his chin, on the bridge of his nose, and on the right side of his upper lip. He was wearing boxer shorts.
If you have any information regarding Zachary Bernhardt’s disappearance please contact the Clearwater Police Department. You can remain anonymous by texting your tip to 847411 (TIP411).
Clearwater Police Department