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Post Info TOPIC: Amber Alert Bolo - Somer Renee Thompson 10 -20 -09 Female 7yrs - CLAY COUNTY, Fla - Deceased

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RE: Amber Alert Bolo - Somer Renee Thompson 10 -20 -09 Female 7yrs - CLAY COUNTY, Fla - UPDATE

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ORANGE PARK — Clay County officials are searching two landfills, as part of the investigation into the disappearance of 7-year-old Somer Renee Thompson.

Mary Justino, a spokeswoman for the Clay County Sheriff's Office, said Rosemary Hill landfill near Green Cove Springs and the Chesser Island Landfill in Folkston, Ga., were targeted by investigators.

Trash from the neighborhood where Somer's family lived is taken to Rosemary Hill, then transferred to the Georgia landfill. Justino said the searches are a "precautionary measure" and are not based on a tip or a lead in the case.

County Manager Fritz Behring said Rosemary Hill was searched Tuesday. Investigators are at the Folkston landfill today.

Officials have been looking for Somer since she disappeared on her way home from school Monday afternoon.

The Justice Coalition and First Coast Crime Stoppers plan to announce a reward this afternoon for information that can help locate the Orange Park girl. At least $30,000 has been raised.

Gov. Charlie Crist also is expected to visit the sheriff later today. A community vigil also is planned for 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Orange Park at 1140 Kingsley Ave.

At a news conference this morning, Sheriff Rick Beseler said the likelihood that Somer had been taken by someone is "very high."

"It would be very difficult for her to be out in the open and not found," Beseler said at the morning update with Somer's mother Diena Thompson.

So far a massive search for the first-grader who disappeared on her way home from Grove Park Elementary School in Orange Park Monday has turned up nothing. No evidence, including a book bag she said her daughter was carrying when she went to school Monday morning have been found.

"Nothing has surfaced, we have zero leads," Beseler said at the morning news conference.

He said leads as far as a possible Tennessee sighting have been followed without luck.

Somer's father, Samuel Thompson, told the Times-Union today there was little new information in the update he received from Clay officials today.

"I'm certainly holding out hope that she's alive," he said. "There is absolutely nothing that can take that hope away."

Thompson said he plans to come to Florida, but has been held back since he is using a wheelchair after a recent accident and because he is in need of travel funds.

Detectives, however, have located a blue Nissan that was sighted in what was suspected to be an abduction attempt in the same vicinity 10 days prior. He said the individuals have been located and are not believed to be connected to Somer's case.

He said that investigation is still ongoing but that no arrests have been made.

This morning, Thompson said her daughter, who was wearing a cranberry jumpsuit with pink stripes down the arms and legs, weighs about 65 pounds, has long brown hair and brown eyes. She has an circular birthmark roughly 3 inches in diameter on her left shin, her mother said.

Thompson, 34, also made a plea to anyone who may have her daughter.

"Just drop her off somewhere," she said. "I don't care if you ever get in trouble."

She said she did Somer's hair in a ponytail Monday morning before sending her to school.

Beseler said the search today will likely expand efforts of volunteers. It has already involved dozens of deputies, divers, dogs, horses, a helicopter and volunteers.

He said an update on the day's efforts will be be given at 4 p.m.

A tip line has been set up to contact authorities at (877) 227-6911. Tips can also be emailed to

Search Area,-81.717768&spn=0.02226,0.025749&z=14&source=embed


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ORANGE PARK — As the 24-hour mark passed Tuesday in the search for Somer, worries about what may have happened to the 7-year-old Clay County girl escalated.

“Obviously we suspect foul play in the fact that she did not come home last night,” said Sgt. Dan Mahla of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. “This is totally out of character for her. In fact the climate conditions and the age and the size of that child would have made it very, very tough for her to survive.”

About 150 law enforcement searchers, including tracking dog teams, divers and helicopter units, were involved in ground and water searches for the girl who ran off from a brother and sister after leaving Grove Park Elementary School on Monday. A search of her Orange Park neighborhood by the family began immediately after her siblings arrived home.

“Today’s big focus has been to re-cover all of the areas we searched last night utilizing the sunlight today,” Mahla said at an evening update.

He said no physical evidence relating to the disappearance had been found.

Woods, a retention pond and a small lake were searched by officers as volunteers spread out on neighborhood streets to hand out fliers. Helicopters and ground searchers were planning to work through the night Tuesday. About 200 leads had come in to searchers by 5:45 p.m., Mahla said.

Meanwhile, Somer’s shaken parents pleaded for her return.

“Give me my baby back,” her mother said in an interview with the Times-Union Tuesday afternoon. “Whoever’s got her, wherever she is, bring my baby home to me. Safe and sound. Just bring my baby home.”

Somer’s father, who lives in North Carolina, said he’s praying for his daughter’s safe return. The little girl’s parents are going through a divorce. He last saw Somer about two years ago when she visited him.

“She’s just a beautiful, wonderful little girl, full of life,” Samuel Thompson, 41, told the Times-Union from his North Carolina home. “It’s unimaginable.”

He said he’s trying to hope for the best.

“We’ve got every church around here praying that she’s just at a friend’s house. Maybe she’s just scared to move,” Thompson said.

A statewide Amber Alert for Somer was issued about 9 a.m. by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The alert wasn’t immediately issued because her disappearance wasn’t witnessed and there is no vehicle description, which are criteria for such alerts.

Somer has been missing since 2:45 p.m. Monday, when she was on her way home from school near West Gano Avenue and Debarry Avenue with her sister, twin brother and other children.

She might have hit another child with her backpack and run off after she was teased about something.

Her siblings arrived home at 3:05 p.m.


In the attempted abduction of Kaylee, the child was riding a bike when she was approached by a car with two men and a woman. The woman tried to get the girl inside their car by saying her mom told her to pick her up, the girl’s mother said.

Megan Reese said running off unattended wasn’t anything new for Somer. Reese, 17, said she baby-sat Somer and her two siblings for a little more than a month this year. That’s why she took to an intersection off West Gano Avenue and passed out fliers of the auburn-haired girl.

She said the 7-year-old is headstrong and often jumped ahead of her brother and sister on the way back from school and made her way back by herself. These trips usually took anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, and she said Diena Thompson had a list of phone numbers for the parents of Somer’s friends in case she was gone for too long.

“She’d be gone and then just show up when I’d be calling one of her friend’s parents,” Reese said.

She said she never knew where Somer ran to, but she loves treehouses and swimming pools. The reason why she ran might be more clear.

“She’d always talk about other kids picking on her,” Reese said. “That’s probably what set her off and made her run. I hope she’s just in a treehouse somewhere hiding out.”

Mahla said places and friends Somer visits have been checked.

By late Tuesday afternoon, Kelly Thomas was still walking neighborhoods and standing at intersections handing out search fliers. The 25-year-old mother of a 4-year-old had searched until 3 a.m. Tuesday and was back at it hours later.

She said she had handed out more than 250 fliers that were being generated at the elementary school and other places.

“People are going to offices, people are doing them at home,” she said.

She said the number of volunteers grew all day.

Mahla said organized searches using volunteers will be coordinated today.  He said about 2,000 fliers have been handed out, mostly by volunteers.

Detectives interviewed 57 sexual predators and sexual offenders within a 3-mile radius of where Somer disappeared. Interviews with 37 more began Tuesday morning in a 2-mile extension ofthat perimeter that stretches just into Jacksonville.,
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-- Edited by Franklin on Wednesday 21st of October 2009 11:42:58 AM


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Child's Body Found In Search For Missing Girl

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A child's body has been found in Georgia that officials believe could be missing Clay County, Fla., 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," Beseler 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.


Sam Thompson, Somer Thompson's father, lives in Graham.

"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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Garbage trucks lead to body of missing girl
Police hope quick discovery will lead them to 7-year-old's killer

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - After 7-year-old Somer Thompson vanished on her way home from school, investigators tailed nine garbage trucks from her neighborhood to a Georgia landfill nearly 50 miles away, then methodically picked through the trash as each rig spilled its load.

They sorted through 100,000 tons of garbage before their worst fears were realized: Sticking out of the rubbish were a child's lifeless legs.

Sheriff Rick Beseler said the quick discovery of Somer's body on Wednesday, two days after she disappeared, may have saved precious evidence that could lead to her killer.

"Had we not done this tactic, I believe that body would have been buried beneath hundreds of tons of debris, probably would have gone undiscovered forever," he said Thursday.

An autopsy to establish the cause of death was performed Thursday, but authorities would not disclose their findings. At a news conference, Beseler would not say if Somer had been sexually assaulted or answer other questions about the condition of the body.

"I fear for our community until we bring this person in. This is a heinous crime that's been committed," Beseler said. "And we're going to work as hard as we can to make this community safe."

Tracking the trash
Searching landfills is common when children disappear, but it is unusual to try to zero in on them more efficiently by tracking a neighborhood's garbage trucks, said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"Time is the enemy in these cases and the sheriff used every resource," Allen said.

The sheriff said police have questioned more than 155 registered sex offenders in the area so far. State online records show a remarkably large number of sex offenders — 88 — live in Orange Park, a Jacksonville suburb of about 9,000 people just south of Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

Beseler would not say whether investigators believe the crime was committed by more than one person.

Somer's father and other family members were "torn up" upon hearing the news, aunt Laura Holt said.

As for the killer or killers, "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?"

'Hardest phone call'
The girl disappeared is a heavily populated residential area about a mile from a stretch of fast-food restaurants and other businesses. Investigators will presumably try to pinpoint the trash bin or garbage can where she was dumped, based on the trash around her and the truck's pickup route.

Tuesday was trash day in Somer's neighborhood, and it was Detective Bruce Owens' idea to track the garbage trucks to the landfill they use in Folkston, Ga., 48 miles way.

"At that time I realized that this is probably not going to turn out good," the 10-year veteran of the Clay County Sheriff's Office told The Florida Times-Union. But he said he had been expecting to find perhaps a backpack or a piece of clothing, not a body.

The sheriff said he had told the girl's mother, Diena Thompson, to prepare for the worst, and called her after receiving the news Wednesday night.

"Needless to say, she was absolutely devastated," Beseler said. "It was the hardest phone call I've ever had to make in my life, and I hope I never have to make another one like that."

Flowers and teddy bears
Somer vanished on Monday during her mile-long walk home from school. Authorities said she squabbled with another child and walked ahead of the group. She was last seen outside a vacant house that was on her route home, sheriff's spokeswoman Mary Justino said. Investigators are examining the house for evidence, Justino said.

On Thursday, flowers and dozens of teddy bears were heaped around an oak tree across the street from Somer's some.

Somer "was always happy unless she couldn't find anyone to play with," neighbor Robert Ocain said. "She trusted anybody. Honestly, I think all the kids around here do."

At the tree, Catherine Sullivan held her teary-eyed 5-year-old daughter, Nya Frederick. They drove to the Thompsons' neighborhood from Jacksonville because Sullivan wanted to show her child the dangers of being too friendly with strangers.

"She seemed to understand when I explained to her her mommy wouldn't see her anymore," the mother said.



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RE: Amber Alert Bolo - Somer Renee Thompson 10 -20 -09 Female 7yrs - CLAY COUNTY, Fla - Deceased

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