State News

Girl found, search for killer escalates

Posted October 22, 2009
Updated February 11, 2010

— Authorities are calling the death of 7-year-old Somer Thompson a homicide.

Clay County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Mary Justino said dental records confirmed that the body of a small girl found in a Georgia landfill is that of the child reported missing Monday.

Mother of Fla. girl speaks Mother of Florida girl speaks

Somer vanished on her mile-long walk home from school in Orange Park, Fla., a suburb of Jacksonville.

She lived there with her mother. The girl's father, Sam Thompson, lives in Graham, N.C.

Justino did not say how the girl was killed, but she said the girl's death was a homicide. She said authorities have not located a suspect.

A mobile forensic unit was looking for evidence at a home at 1080 Gano Ave. near where Somer was last seen by other children. The home, which was the site of a fire months ago, is vacant, Justino said. The homeowners gave permission for the search.

An autopsy was performed Thursday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Savannah after the body was found near the Florida state line.

Investigators followed garbage trucks leaving the neighborhood where the child disappeared to the Georgia landfill.

Somer's father and other family members were "torn up" after hearing the news, aunt Laura Holt said. She hopes authorities will find her niece's killer.

Mother of Fla. girl speaks Mother of Florida girl speaks

"I don't think they deserve to live," Holt said. "I don't think there's anything worse that a person can do – to kill a child and dump her in the dump like a piece of trash?"

Justino wouldn't talk about what evidence police have recovered, or whether investigators believe the crime was committed by one or more people. She said police have questioned more than 70 registered sex offenders in the area, and that process was continuing. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show 161 offenders live in a 5-mile radius of Somer's home.

Two deputies stood guard at mother Diena Thompson's home early Thursday morning. It appeared to be full of supporters. An oak tree across the street was decorated with flowers, candles and pictures of Somer.

"This has been so unreal for the neighborhood," said Sharon Galloway, who lives across the street from the Thompsons. "I just hope they get that son of a gun."


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  • Jack Flash Oct 23, 2009

    I used to walk about a mile to the bus stop when I was a kid, by myself in the dark on poorly lit streets with lots of places with low visibility. I don't know for sure that there are that many more abductions nowadays. I wonder if we just hear about them so much more that it seems like it.

  • jimmycrackcorn Oct 23, 2009

    "I'd happily turn the switch that would electrify the cretins who did this."

    I'd pedal an exercise bike attached to a generator to fry this Animal. Given this chance, Lance Armstrong would be left in my dust.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Oct 22, 2009

    I'd happily turn the switch that would electrify the cretins who did this.

  • bonnnie Oct 22, 2009

    Bless the family of this little one. The one(s) responsible should pay with their life, these people do not belong in any society.

  • grenlyn1 Oct 22, 2009

    I use to walk a couple of miles to school. We use to walk in groups. Our home was the furthest from school and we NEVER had to deal with the vermon living among us today. Had anyone done anything to use back then, my dad would be walking the streets with a ball bat until he found who done it. I hope they find this person and quick. Before another child is killed and discarded like a piece of trash.

  • Adelinthe Oct 22, 2009

    set - "Does anyone else wonder why a SEVEN year old child was walking a mile home from school by herself each day?"

    I've wondered that.

    Even the state I grew up in (PA) which gets tons of snow won't let a child that age walk more than 1/2 mile to school.

    I pray her sister isn't blaming herself for not going after the child.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Oct 22, 2009

    Because they are still interviewing sex deviates, I suppose we can assume this little angel was put through hell before she died.

    Praying they find some form of fit punishment for the animal who did all this to her.

    Praying for her loved ones.

    And praying the authorities find the beast quickly.

    No one deserves this, especially a wee child.

    God bless.


  • mom2threecld Oct 22, 2009

    small children shouldn't be walking alone, much less a mile. i have been a single mother myself, that is what friend and family are for. sad for the child. NOTHING is worth my childrens safety. prayers to the family

  • asjdiw Oct 22, 2009

    What are we that I child can't walk home in safety. This tragedy says a lot about how far we have to go as a species. Or this all part of God's plan and I just don't see it?

  • CowboysFan Oct 22, 2009

    "I just hope they get that son of a gun."
    -----and then shot him/them with the gun. This story breaks my heart soo much. I hate reading it, but I want to know whats going on ad to make sure they get this evil person(s)! I am praying to God that they catch him/them and let them fry and for the family to be able to smach the living heck out 'em if not worse