This year, Wendy Hudakoc will have been a missing person for more than half her life.
Fourteen when she was last seen leaving a Naples party with a man on Nov. 15, 1998, she is the oldest missing child on Collier County detectives' list.
"If they go missing as a child, they're going to remain that way," said Sgt. Ken Becker, of the Sheriff's Office major crimes bureau. "Even though she's an adult now, she's still classified as a missing child."
Monday was Florida Missing Children's Day, an annual event held to remember missing children, create awareness and teach Floridians about protecting youth.
At a ceremony in Tallahassee, Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order to strengthen relationships among state agencies and private organizations with techniques like posting photos of missing children in rest stops and toll booths, and flashing Amber Alerts on road signs and billboards.
"As governor, my commitment is to do everything possible to crack down on those offenders who prey on the most vulnerable and to keep our communities secure," Scott said.
In Collier, 13 of the county's 33 missing people were children at the time of their disappearances. About half of them are thought to be with a family member who was not authorized to take them.
"Regardless of if any parent took them, if it's a missing child in general, we take them all very seriously," Becker said. "You like to think that that child is safe, but that's not always the case."
Only two out of 18 long-term missing people cases at the Lee County Sheriff's Office involve juveniles, said Lt. Ryan Bell, of the major crimes unit. Both of the cases likely are familial abductions.
"A lot of the times with family or parental abductions, they'll often have a network of family and friends that will help them hide the child and themselves," Bell said.
Sometimes, detectives look for missing children who are later found with families in foreign countries like Mexico.
"There was one that we were finally able to close a year and a half, two years ago, that they were safe in another country and basically just moved," Bell said.
Becker, the Collier County sergeant, said the Sheriff's Office doesn't have any new leads on its 13 missing children, although the cases remain active and detectives continue to look for new evidence.
"Obviously, it's a good time for citizens to be aware that there are missing children out there," he said of Monday's event. "This is just one of the ways to recognize them."
Missing children's cases filed with the Collier and Lee County Sheriff's Offices:
Wendy Hudakoc was last seen Nov. 15, 1998 at age 14, leaving a party with an adult male in the city of Naples.
Brenda Ovalle was last seen Feb. 3, 2004 at age 16, leaving her uncle's house in East Naples. She may be in Mexico with her family.
Magdelina Andres Pascual was last seen May 26, 2004 at age 15, at 301 S. Ninth St. in Immokalee. Detectives believe she left with her boyfriend in a red car.
Eleuteria Hilario was last seen Nov. 17, 2004 at age 17, leaving her home on Delray Boulevard in Tice to do laundry. Detectives have been unable to reach Hilario's parents since 2006.
Fabiola Salomon, 11, and her brother, Jairo Lopez, 8, were last seen Jan. 20, 2005 in Fort Myers. Their mother, Lidia Lopez, may have taken them to Virginia or Mexico.
Darwin Garcia was last seen June 13, 2008 at age 15. Detectives said he was last seen in Mexico with his family.
Wendy Ramirez-Beristain was last seen Nov. 9, 2008 at age 1. She may have traveled to Mexico with her father.
Adji Desir, a 6-year-old who has been missing since Jan. 10, 2009, was last seen in Farmworkers Village in Immokalee wearing a blue and yellow shirt and shorts, and black and gray sneakers.
Marissa Hernandez was last seen April 23, 2011 at age 17, at 300 Colorado Ave. in Immokalee, wearing a white T-shirt and bluejeans. She left in a tan minivan with possible tag 149VJP.
Olga Sanchez was last seen June 9, 2011 at age 15, 5180 16th Place S.W. in Golden Gate. She is listed as a runaway.
Jesus Sebastian Frias, 15; Aldo Emilio Frias, 13; and Irene Elizabeth Frias, 10, were last seen at 860 Hampton Circle in East Naples. Detectives said the children's mother, 36-year-old Claudia Elizabeth Frias, took the three to Mexico without their other parent's permission.
Irma Vasquez was last seen Aug. 1, 2012 at age 12 at Immokalee Community Park wearing a black shirt and cutoff jeans. Detectives said she has been seen in the Seminole Indian Reservation. She is listed as a runaway.