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Kids Still Walk Solo Where Somer Kidnapped, Killed

10:24 AM, Oct 20, 2010   |    comments
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ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- One year after Somer Thompson was killed on her walk home from school, we found kids still going by the suspect's house alone, with no parents in sight.

On Gano Avenue, kids ride their bikes and walk past the house on the way to Grove Park Elementary without any supervision. One year ago, authorities say this is where Jarred Harrell kidnapped and killed Thompson.

"We see quite a few still walking solo. We'd like more parents to do this year-round, to walk with them. But the longer it goes the less parents we see," said Orange Park Police Chief Jim Boivin.

The signs of Somer are still everywhere. Fresh purple ribbons are at her school, the school crossing and the on the mailbox outside Harrell's old house.

That house on Gano Avenue has smashed windows and appears abandoned. A CrimeStoppers sign is posted on the garage door.

Boivin says two to three police officers patrol the town's two elementary schools while students walk to and from school, but that's something they've done for years.

He encourages parents to walk with them or arrange to have one parent walk with a group of kids.

Jeff Underwood walked with his first-grade son Monday morning.

"There's more a sense of urgency. Just keep an eye out, not only on my kid but other kids that are walking around that I see," Underwood said.

Somer's mom, Diena Thompson, was on NBC's "Today" show last week.

"I still feel guilty for what happened to Somer so I want her to know that I'll always be there for her," she said.

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