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.