Florida Cold Case: Zachary Bernhardt, Missing Without a Trace

On September 11, 2000, 8-year-old Zachary Bernhardt lived with his mother, Leah Hackett, in an apartment complex in the 2600 block of Drew Street, Clearwater, FL. Mrs. Hackett told Detectives she went to the pool area at 2:00 a.m. to take a short walk and swim.  Mrs. Hackett advised investigators that Zachary was asleep in his room when she left for her walk.  When Mrs. Hackett returned, Zachary was missing from their residence.

An extensive search of the area produced no evidence as to Zachary’s whereabouts. Zachary was last seen wearing an unknown color of boxer shorts.  Zachary has a scar on the bridge of his nose, under his chin, and on the upper right side of his lip.  Zachary is described as an intelligent and cheerful child who excelled in school.

Zachary Bernhardt and Zachary Bernhardt Age Progression

Detectives conducted hundreds of interviews based on countless leads to identify a suspect in this case.  Zachary’s disappearance remains unsolved.

In a video interview on September 11, 2020, Clearwater Police Department Lt. Michael Walek said, “Someone out there knows something and the hope that I have is someone would come forward, to say something and give us one piece of information that we need.”

Anyone with information can call the Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4420 or remain anonymous and text a tip to 847411. Tips can also be made through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1 (800) 843-5678.