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Man Who Killed Jimmy Ryce Set To Be Executed

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Juan Carlos Chavez is set to die for the killing Jimmy Ryce.

Juan Carlos Chavez is set to die for the killing Jimmy Ryce.

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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — An execution date has been set for the man who killed a 9-year-old boy from South Florida back in 1995.

Juan Carlos Chavez  is set to be executed February 12, 2014 at 6 p.m. for the murder of Jimmy Ryce.

Ryce’s father released a statement after the news of the execution saying, “I just received the news that justice will finally be done in the murder of my son, Jimmy, on September 11, 1995.  I feel a combination of sadness and relief. I hope this sends a message to predators that this behavior will not go unpunished.”

On September 11, 1995, Ryce was dropped off by his school bus near his home in the Redland. Before Jimmy made it home, Chavez abducted him, ordering him at gunpoint into his truck.  Chavez drove Jimmy back to his trailer, where he ordered Jimmy to remove his clothes and then sexually battered him.  Chavez held Jimmy captive for over three and one-half hours before Chavez shot and killed Jimmy when he tried to escape

Two days after the murder, Chavez dismembered Jimmy’s body, filled three planters with Jimmy’s remains, and sealed the planters with concrete.

Chavez was arrested three months later after Jimmy’s book bag was seized in his trailer.

“To this day, I remember this case as if it was yesterday.  This was one of the most heinous homicides I’ve ever handled,” recalled Pat Diaz, the lead investigator on the case. Diaz has since retired from the Miami-Dade Police Department, but told CBS4′s Maggie Newland the case still affects him. “I carried this case for 17 years,” he said.

Diaz says he’ll never forget the moment he and other officers walked Chavez out of the police department. “That was the day all of Dade County saw a monster, that we’re putting away a bad guy,” he said.

Even after the arrest, Diaz stayed in touch with the Ryce family who worked to keep other children safe, donating bloodhounds to police departments, teaching kids about stranger danger, and promoting legislation to keep predators locked up.

Now with an execution date set, Diaz says the case that haunts so many will truly come to a close.

“I think it buries all the bad memories of someone who did the worst thing you can do is hurt a child,” he said.

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