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Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

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Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Tue 20 Oct - 17:35

Florida Authorities Search for Girl, 7, Who Vanished After School

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Florida officials have expanded their search for a missing 7-year-old girl who vanished while walking home from school Monday afternoon.

Somer Thompson was last seen about 2:45 p.m. while walking home from Grove Park Elementary school in Grove Park, northern Florida. She was with her twin brother, 10-year-old sister and friends and reportedly ran ahead of them after getting into a fight. When her brother and sister returned home, they said she was not there.

When Somer did not return home, her mother and her mother's boyfriend searched up and down the block. Somer's mother reported her daughter missing two and half hours later to a police officer.

Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said officers are investigating whether Thompson’s disappearance is connected to an event that happened in the area on Oct. 10, when three people tried unsuccessfully to lure a 5-year-old girl into a car.

"We want to emphasize while we're taking this into consideration, we are not focusing just on this … we're exploring other areas and angles,” said Beseler.

Beseler said 57 sex offenders have been interviewed within a three-mile radius, and their homes and yards have been searched. The search was expanded Tuesday to a five-mile radius and officials report they will interview 30 more registered sex offenders.

More than 100 Clay County deputies were searching for the second-grader Tuesday. Beseler said the area where Somer disappeared is wooded and swampy, and they want to completely search the woods before moving search units out further. Dogs and helicopters are being used.

Thompson is 3 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 65 pounds. She has brown hair that was in a pony tail and was wearing a cranberry colored jumpsuit with pink stripes and a black T-shirt underneath. Her backpack is black with pink and white skulls and crossbones.

People are encouraged to call the tip line at (877) 227-6911 with any additional information on the child’s whereabouts.


Last edited by Schnuffel on Mon 29 Mar - 22:03; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Wed 21 Oct - 8:23

Mother not letting child out of sight after Orange Park abduction attempt by woman

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009

After an abduction attempt, a mother is scared for her daughter.

April Boothroyd said she hasn't let her 5-year-old daughter, Kaylee, out of her sight after a woman tried to snatch her off an Orange Park street Oct. 10.

So when Boothroyd heard about Monday's disappearance of Somer Renee Thompson about a block from where the abduction attempt occurred, she grew frightened for the 7-year-old girl. Though there's no evidence Somer has been kidnapped, Boothroyd said just the thought of her not being home with her family was disturbing.

"That could be my child," said Boothroyd, 26.

The attempted abduction was one lead followed up by investigators looking into Somer's disappearance. Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said so far no links have been established between the two incidents.

Boothroyd said Kaylee was riding her bike about three blocks from home before heading to a Saturday afternoon birthday party when the incident occurred about noon at Gano Avenue and Grove Park Drive.

Boothroyd said she learned of the abduction attempt from Shannon Pollitt, who spotted Kaylee crying in the road and was told of the incident after she stopped the little girl.

Pollitt said she nearly ran over Kaylee. When she spotted the little girl, she also saw a blue Nissan SUV parked on an angle in a nearby parking lot. Pollitt said Kaylee told her a woman in the SUV tried to get her into the vehicle, which was also occupied by two men.

"The lady was trying to lure my daughter in, saying, 'Your mother told me for you to get in the car so I can take you home,' " Boothroyd said. "My daughter said no. This other lady saw everything happen. She said [those in the SUV] instantly drove off."

Pollitt told Kaylee to go home as she followed.

"My daughter was hysterical. The lady was almost crying herself. She said your daughter would have gotten kidnapped the way the lady was trying to get her in the car," Boothroyd said.

The child's mother said she called Orange Park police and the officer who wrote the report advised to have her daughter ride her bike closer to their home.

"They just gave me a card and told me if I have more information, let them know," she said.

Orange Park Police Chief Jim Boivin told the Times-Union his agency notified the Sheriff's Office of the abduction attempt, but the investigating officer failed to report it to the school. He said that should have been done.

"It just slipped her mind," Boivin said.

Boothroyd said she hopes Somer is found safe.

"It's horrible," she said.



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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Wed 21 Oct - 21:46

BREAKING NEWS: Detectives searching for missing Florida girl say a child's body has been found

Child's Body Found In Search For Missing Girl

12 minutes ago

Officials Do Not Know Whether Body Is Somer Thompson

A child's body has been found in Georgia that officials believe could be missing Clay County, Florida, girl Somer Thompson.

Somer, 7, has been missing since Monday. She was last seen walking home from school with her siblings in her suburban Jacksonville neighborhood. Police said she got into an argument with another child and ran ahead.

Sheriff Rick Beseler said the body is that of a white child and that the gender is not yet known. The landfill contains garbage that came from the Orange Park area. Beseler said the sheriff's office routinely tracks garbage trucks in missing person's cases.

He said the scene has not yet been disturbed and is being examined.

Beseler said Somer's parents, Diena and Sam Thompson, have been notified of the situation. Sam Thompson lives in Graham.

"Everyone in Clay County and everyone in Florida grieves for this family," he said.

Wednesday morning, at a news conference and on the "Today" show, Diena Thompson, begged for her daughter's return.

"Somer you're not in trouble," she said. "If you are scared, just please come home, and if somebody has her, please, bring her back to us. She belongs with her family. She belongs with us. She belongs with her twin brother. Please, just bring her home."

An Amber Alert was issued for the girl on Tuesday as investigators worked to follow several leads in the case. Detectives said they've found no physical evidence, but suspect foul play in the disappearance.

"If anyone's taken my daughter, I just want them to know I forgive you, but just let her come home safe and unharmed," Sam Thompson said. "There's no need for this."

On Wednesday, Beseler said investigators are baffled. He said officers have interviewed about 75 known sex offenders within five square miles of Somer's home.





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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Sat 31 Oct - 20:54


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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Sun 15 Nov - 8:34

Friends and Family Gather for Somer Thompson Memorial

By Sheeka Strickland FOX8 News

November 14, 2009


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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Mon 29 Mar - 21:34

Jarred Harrell’s Brutal Killing of Somer Thompson Was Likely ‘Crime of Opportunity’, Police says

March 26, 2010

Florida police today charged a suspect with the premeditated murder of 7-year-old Somer Thompson.

Jarred Mitchell Harrell, 24, - charged with the murder of Somer Thompson

“I’m here today to announce that Jarred Harrell has been formally charged with murder,” Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said standing in front of a “Justice for Somer” banner to the applause of those gathered for the statement.

Police said they believe Harrell, 24, encountered Somer as she walked by his house on her way home from school. Beseler said police have evidence that Harrell then assaulted Thompson, killed her and disposed of her body. Two days after her death, Thompson’s body was found in a landfill in Georgia. She died, police said, by asphyxiation.

The arresting documents charged Harrell with first-degree murder, sexual battery and lewd or lascivious molestation of a child younger than 12.

“I don’t believe that this was anything more than a crime of opportunity,” Beseler said.

Citing witness testimony, statements by Harrell and DNA samples, among other evidence, Beseler said investigators were “confident that Jarred Harrell committed this crime.”

Beseler said Harrell’s own statements gave investigators “the amount of probable cause necessary to make the arrest today.”

Harrell was a former neighbor of the Thompsons and was already in custody on a battery of unrelated child pornography and child molestation.

He had been named a person of interest in the case in early February when he was arrested on 29 unrelated counts of child pornography. Additional unrelated pornography and child molestation charges followed, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Thompson was last seen walking to her Orange Park, Florida, home from school with her older sister, Abby, and twin brother Samuel. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill.

In August, two months before Thompson went missing, Harrell’s former roommates turned over to police a computer Harrell allegedly used that had sexual images and videos of children, according to the February arresting documents. The computer, which had a filed called “Toddler Insertion,” held “a large amount of child erotica and also child pornography,” the documents said.

Apparently responding to criticism that police had not picked up Harrell earlier, Beseler said the suspect “did not come onto anyone’s radar screen as someone who would commit a crime like this.

“We did our job,” he said.


Last edited by Schnuffel on Mon 29 Mar - 21:41; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Mon 29 Mar - 21:39

Arrest in Girl’s Murder Highlights Sex Offender Myth

Fri Mar 26, 2010

It was a horrible crime against a young child that made headlines around the world: A seven-year-old girl named Somer Thompson vanished while walking home from school one day in October 2009.

Her parents suspected the worst—partly because of high-profile news stories about other missing kids. Indeed, only a few years earlier in the same state, a convicted sex offender named John Couey abducted, raped, and killed a girl named Jessica Lunsford. The Thompsons hoped their daughter’s disappearance would end differently, but tragically few days later Somer’s body was found in a Georgia landfill.

Police immediately questioned registered sex offenders living in the area. According to Florida’s sex offender registry, about 80 offenders live within three miles of the Thompson home, and over 160 live within five miles. The public expected a child molester to be arrested any day; one ABC News headline read, “Dense Population of Sex Offenders in Fla. Case is Alarmingly Typical.”

Today a man named Jarred Harrell was charged with the abduction, rape, and murder of Somer Thompson.

Predictably, Harrell is not a convicted sex offender.

Why “predictably”? Because most people who abduct, molest, and kill children have no previous criminal records for crimes against children.

According to Department of Justice studies and professor David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, sex offenders have a lower recidivism (re-offense) rate than people convicted of other crimes (the idea that sex offenders can’t be cured, or often commit further sex offenses, is a common myth).

Jarred Harrell is a far more typical perpetrator than John Couey. It may seem counterintuitive, but the fact is that a convicted sex offender is far less likely to assault a child than a person who has never been convicted of a sex crime. The vast majority of crimes against children are committed by the child’s parents, family, or friends—not a stranger. (Though Harrell had been arrested for unrelated sex crimes, he had not been convicted and therefore did not appear on any sex offender registries.)

When looking for a suspect in a child abduction or molestation, it’s natural for the police and public to focus first on convicted sex offenders. But more often than not the concern about sex offenders only distracts from the more likely suspects. Children need to be protected, and that means understanding where the real dangers lie.


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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  Guest on Mon 29 Mar - 21:49

Somer’s mom: Death penalty would be ‘fair’

Mother of murdered Florida child says she’s ‘happier’ after arrest in case

March 29, 2010

The death penalty would be “fair” for the man charged with the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of a 7-year-old Florida girl, the girl’s mother said Monday.

“Right now, I think it’s fair that he gets the death penalty,” Diena Thompson told TODAY’s Ann Curry Monday via satellite from Jacksonville, Fla. “I think the only way he’s going to repay society for what he took away from society is to give up himself.”

Thompson’s daughter, Somer, disappeared in October after running ahead of her twin brother and older sister as they were walking home from school. Two days later, her body was found in a Georgia landfill some 50 miles away from her suburban Jacksonville home.

‘We got you

It took five months for police to arrest a suspect, but investigators are confident that 24-year-old Jared Mitchell Harrell is the person responsible for the crime. Harrell had been living with a relative in a brick home just five minutes away from Somer’s home at the time of the murder.

Originally from Mississippi, he had returned to that state, where he was arrested on Feb. 11 on child pornography charges that were filed in Florida. Harrell had been a person of interest in the Somer Thompson case before being charged with her abduction, assault and death last week. Without being specific, investigators said the evidence against Harrell includes DNA and his own statements.

“A monster. That’s all this person is,” Diena Thompson had said Friday at “Somer Jam,” a fundraising concert she organized in Jacksonville to benefit the Somer Thompson Foundation. “I’d like to take this opportunity to say, ‘Jarred Harrell, we got you, and you ain’t gettin away.’ ”

Thompson dabbed constantly at her eyes and choked back tears as she talked to Curry about the agonizing five months between Somer’s murder and Harrell’s arrest.

“I’m happy to know that there’s someone charged and arrested in my daughter’s murder. But there’s just a gamut of emotions that go through you. It’s so hard to explain exactly how you feel in a situation like this, but definitely I was happier this weekend than I’ve been in a really long time,” Thompson said.

‘We miss her’

The grieving mother wore a large button with Somer’s picture on her left shoulder. The picture was decorated with purple ribbons, Somer’s favorite color.

“She was a beautiful, wonderful child that had a twin brother who’s going to miss her a whole lot, along with the rest of her family and community,” Thompson said. “We miss her and love her.”

Harrell is charged with capital crimes, but prosecutors have not yet given any indication whether they will seek the death penalty once he goes to trial. Thompson said that while she favors the death penalty for him now, her feelings may change as she learns more about him and what happened to Somer, who died of asphyxiation.

“I don’t know how I’m going to feel in one to four years from now, when a trial may come about,” she told Curry.

Help for others

Harrell has been described as a “computer whiz.” He had moved in with his aunt in Thompson’s neighborhood after being thrown out of an apartment by roommates who called police to report they had found child pornography on his computer.

That incident had occurred two months before Somer’s abduction, but police said there was no way to predict that Harrell was capable of such violence. He also couldn’t be arrested until police could prove he had downloaded the images to his computer, investigators said.

While waiting for Harrell’s trial, Thompson continues to work to raise funds for the Somer Thompson Foundation. Part of the foundation’s mission is to try to prevent a recurrence of what happened to Somer. As important, Thompson said, is offering financial help to families overwhelmed by tragedy.

“We want to keep it from happening,” Thompson told Curry. “In the unfortunate occasion that it does happen, then we want to be there for the families that are like myself, who didn’t know how they were ever going to get the money together to pay for their baby to get buried, or how they were going to pay their bills that month. That’s what this foundation is going to do.”


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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  FSoares on Tue 30 Mar - 0:33

What an horrendous story.
Poor little girl! I'm glad the culprit was found and may he pay for what he did to this child. I am not in favor for death penalty - I'm against it - but a life serving in Jail, is what this young man deserves.

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Re: Somer Thompson - killed by Jarred Harrell

Post  lubelle on Tue 30 Mar - 13:30

Bless you little Somer.Poor child.

I hope he rots in prison for the rest of his life.
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