ORANGE PARK, Fla. — Clay County authorities report that the body of a small child was found in a landfill near Folkston, Ga., where Orange Park’s garbage is dumped.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed later Wednesday the body is that of a girl. Investigators said an autopsy will be performed Thursday morning in Savannah, Ga.
“We hope and pray that it’s not the body of Somer (Thompson), but the garbage that was in that area was collected from Orange Park,” Beseler said.
Seven-year-old Somer Thompson disappeared while walking home from school Monday afternoon. A massive search of Orange Park has been under way since Monday evening.
Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler announced at a news conference late Wednesday afternoon that the body of a child had been found at a landfill near Folkston, Ga.
Clay County detectives found the body about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at a the Chesser Island Landfill in Charlton County. Sgt. Dan Mahla said the scene at the landfill has been contained, and evidence technicians will process the scene as much as possible overnight.
The FBI, GBI and the Charlton County Sheriff’s Office are all at the landfill investigating.
“This was just a hunch — a standard investigative practice — and discovered what we feared we were going to find,” Beseler said. “Everyone in Clay County, everyone in Florida grieves for this family right now.”
Beseler announced the grim news at an afternoon news conference that was delayed for about 20 minutes because of a “major development.”
Gov. Charlie Crist was on hand hoping to rally efforts to find Somer and the Justice Coalition was set to announce a $30,000 reward for Somer’s safe return.
Instead, that reward will be for information for the capture and conviction of whoever is responsible for putting the body of the child in the trash.
Sheriff Rick Beseler said the garbage dumped in this southeast Georgia landfill where investigators found the body of a girl arrived Tuesday afternoon.
“Everybody’s just terribly, terribly sorry and your heart goes to the family,” Crist said.
Beseler said Dumpsters in the area are emptied on Tuesdays, and that particular garbage investigators were searching was dropped off Tuesday afternoon.
“Tuesday morning, one of my detectives, Bruce Owens, came forward and said, ‘You know, I think it’d be a good idea to follow those garbage trucks and let’s look at the garbage on the front end rather than waiting and maybe later on trying to go and uncover something,’ which was a stroke of genius,” Beseler said. “It was a precautionary thing. We didn’t have any idea at that time that this would come about. But it was just a really good move.”
State Attorney Angela Corey arrived in Orange Park late Wednesday saying she was there to assist the sheriff and the other law enforcement agencies working on the case.
“It’s always a tragedy when we lose a citizen,” Corey said. “It is especially so with someone who’s a little angel like Somer. It just elevates everything that we do to a new level.”
For those unfamiliar with the story, she was a darling dimpled little girl who got in an argument with another child (some reports say her twin brother) on the way home from school, and when told to stop by her sister, she ran ahead of the group. She was abducted/snatched somewhere in the mile-long walk from home. Seventy five sex offenders that lived in a 5-mile area were interviewed.
I would think that it was somebody familiar with the neighborhood, probably somebody she knew.
Whoever did it will be sentenced to death, but that isn’t going to be any consolation to the bereaved family. Personally, I would prefer all pedophiles be put to death.