Family Says Missing Girl Spotted on Surveillance Tape

Mother says drug-store video shows 4-year-old Jewel Strong alive and well.

Sept. 14, 2007 — -- Is it possible the little girl seen recently walking into an Orlando drugstore is 4-year-old Jewel Strong, who local authorities believe died more than a year ago? Her family says yes.

Simona Strong, whose daughter was thought to have drowned last year, believes the grainy drugstore surveillance video is evidence that Jewel is alive and well.

"We never believed she had drowned. We always thought something else had happened," said Strong, Jewel's mother.

Strong believes her daughter was abducted last summer from a Florida beach. Jewel was on a raft with her cousin when it capsized, leaving the two children flailing in the water. Crews rescued her cousin, but divers searched for a week and never found Jewel's body.

Since then, relatives say they've seen her twice on videotape. Several months before the drugstore tape surfaced, a customer at a Jacksonville, Fla., restaurant said she saw Jewel with three other women. After looking at another restaurant surveillance tape from the restaurant in March, Jewel's family said it had no doubt.

"Clear as day. We just knew it was her, just to see her moving about for seven minutes we were sure," said Strong.

There is no physical evidence that the child on the tapes is Jewel. Her family says authorities have been reluctant to help because they still believe Jewel drowned and is not considered a missing child.