Florida Executes Man for Boy's Horrific Murder

Slain boy's parents pushed for stronger predator laws

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 13, 2014 12:55 AM CST

(Newser) – Would-be child abductors should think twice about killing their victims because "people will not forget, they will not forgive," said the father of 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce after his son's killer was executed last night. "We will hunt you down and we will put you to death." In a crime that deeply shocked Florida, Juan Carlos Chavez kidnapped, raped, and murdered the boy in 1995, hiding his dismembered remains in planters sealed with concrete. He said nothing as he went to his death, though he earlier released a rambling statement filled with religious references but no word of apology, the Miami Herald reports.

The boy's father, 70-year-old Don Ryce, witnessed the execution along with his son Ted. After his son's murder, Ryce and his wife focused their energies on pushing for tougher laws against sexual predators and better handling of child abduction cases, the AP reports. They founded the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction, which promotes awareness of sexual predators and has given hundreds of bloodhounds to police departments around the country. Ryce said recently that the couple had worked to turn their son's horrific death into something positive instead of giving in to despair. "You've got to do something or you do nothing," he said. "That was just not the way we wanted to live the rest of our lives."

Don Ryce, the father of slain Jimmy Ryce, is helped by his son Ted as he starts to speak to the media following the execution of Juan Carlos Chavez last night.   (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Death row inmate Juan Carlos Chavez is shown during hearings at a Miami-Dade County courtroom.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
Don Ryce, father of slain Jimmy Ryce, speaks to the media following the execution of Juan Carlos Chavez last night.   (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
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