Somer Thompson: Is Justice Coming? By Susan Murphy-Milano

February 3, 2010

Somer Thompson: Is Justice Coming?

By Susan Murphy Milano
On October 19, 2009, during the half-mile walk home from school, seven-year-old Somer Thompson got into a fight with her sister and ran ahead. Within minutes, she was nowhere to be found. Diena Thompson, Somer’s mother, called home from work to check on her kids around 4:00 PM. When she learned Somer was missing, she went home to look for her daughter.
According to reports, Diena ran home, and various members of the family searched the immediate area. Because Somer had a pattern of taking off on her own, her mother didn’t call police for about three hours.
By nine that evening, there were helicopters and law enforcement searching the creeks alleys and wooded area within a two-mile radius.
In a news conference later that evening, police announced that deputies were contacting the 53 sexual offenders who lived in the area as part of their investigation. At the time of the abduction, 10 registered sex offenders lived within a mile, 39 within two miles, 74 within three miles, and 132 within five miles of Somer’s house.
Two days later, authorities found the body of a white child in a Georgia landfill — the landfill where the trash from Somer’s neighborhood went every week. Crime-scene investigation units started working the site immediately.
The decision to search the town trash came from a detective. Authorities assigned an officer for each truck carrying trash, to watch as the refuse poured out. The little girl’s body was in one of the trucks. If not for the quick thinking of one hell of a cop, Somer’s body would never have been found. Makes me wonder: just how many bodies go undetected once they reach a landfill?
In the town where Somer lived with her family, children no longer play in the parks. More parents, I am told, send their children to after-school care. Out of fear, the community has come together to keep a watchful eye on anything suspicious. No child is left to walk alone. Drive through the neighborhood surrounding the Thompson home, and you’ll see what looks and feels like a ghost town. You won’t see children riding bikes or playing baseball in a nearby vacant lot.
In my opinion, this three-month-old case seems to have gone somewhat cold. No new developments keep this horrific case in the headlines. No one seems to be asking for the public to come forward with any tips or information that will lead to the killer — except for Diena Thompson. In a recent interview on NBC, Diena discussed the case and the $65,000 reward offered to bring this murderer to justice.
The community and family of Somer Thompson were spared the gruesome details of how this child, this precious gift of life, was murdered. Perhaps they need to be told. Maybe the community needs to demand answers. And maybe, by informing the community and the media, police can remove a predator from society so another child does not have to die!
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