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In Somer Thompson Murder, Local Sex Offenders No Longer Suspects, Say Cops

(Family Photo)
Family Photo: Somer Thompson.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. (CBS/AP) Much has been made of the 161 registered sex offenders that live near the home of 7-year-old Somer Thompson, whose body was found in a landfill.

PICTURES: Somer Thompson Murdered

But police now say they have finished interviewing all of them and they don't believe any of them are suspects.

"We feel that we do not have any suspects that are members of that group," Clay County Sheriff's spokeswoman Mary Justino said Friday.

Forensic experts continued to comb through a vacant house on the route that Somer Thompson walked home from elementary school before she vanished Monday. The sidewalk in front of that house was the last place witnesses reported seeing the child alive, according to Justino.

Somer's body was discovered in a landfill Wednesday about 50 miles away in Georgia after investigators followed garbage trucks from her neighborhood.

Justino told a news conference no witnesses have come forward to say they saw the first grader attacked or abducted and investigators have finished questioning all 161 registered sex offenders living within a 5-mile radius of Somer's home.

An autopsy has been completed and investigators know how Somer died, but authorities won't disclose their findings or any details about the body, Justino said.

Somer's mother, Diena Thompson, appeared red-eyed on all three network television morning shows to say she believes investigators will catch the unknown killer.

(AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Photo: Somer Thompson's mother, Diena Thompson, at a vigil for her murdered daughter Oct. 22, 2009.

PICTURES: Somer Thompson Murdered

"We're coming for you. We'll get you, and hopefully justice will be served," she said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Missing child posters featuring Somer's face, with chubby cheeks and thick brown bangs, still plaster nearly every utility pole along the mile-long route from her elementary school to her home.

Authorities say Somer squabbled with another child Monday and then walked ahead of the group of kids and was never seen again.

So far, the police have not made an arrest.

Somer's family was making funeral arrangements Friday. On Thursday evening, a steady flow of people - many of them parents, clutching the hands of young children - walked down that same road toward Somer's house to support her grieving family with a candlelight vigil.

PICTURES: Somer Thompson Murdered

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
October 23, 2009 - Somer Thompson's Mom to Killer: "We're Coming For You"
October 23, 2009 - How Police Found Somer Thompson and How They Hope to Catch Her Killer
October 22, 2009 - Somer Thompson Body Likely Found, Says Florida Sheriff
October 21, 2009 - Search for Missing 7-Year-Old Somer Thompson Leads to Body in Landfill
October 20, 2009 - Somer Thompson Vanished After School, Seven-Year-Old Girl Missing in Orange Park, Fla.


  • Neil Katz

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