Police Vetting More Than 1,000 Tips In Girl's Death

Investigators searching for the killer of a 7-year-old Florida girl found slain in a landfill are pursuing more than 1,000 tips received from across the U.S., authorities said Sunday.

Clay County Sheriff's spokeswoman Mary Justino said in a news release that federal, state and local authorities are "actively vetting each workable lead" in the case of Somer Thompson, who vanished while walking home from school Monday. Meanwhile, two events were planned Sunday to raise money for Somer's family and for a reward fund.

Thompson's mother, Diena Thompson, has praised the hard work of detectives who have combed through a home Somer was last seen in front of and the landfill where her body was found Wednesday.

"These detectives - excuse my language - are busting their (expletive) to find it. Because it's an it," Diena Thompson said Saturday, referring to the killer of her daughter.

So far, no one has come forward to say they saw the girl abducted or attacked.

Thompson made the remarks to dozens of mourners and supporters holding a vigil outside her home Saturday night. They gathered around a huge makeshift memorial of Hannah Montana balloons, stuffed animals and candles that have burned so long that the wax has melted into the grass.

"I just want you guys to know I really do love you," Thompson said. "I can't believe the support I've been given."

Justino has said authorities are working to figure out who frequents the area besides residents. The day after Somer's body was identified, authorities said they had ruled out all 161 registered sex offenders who lived within a 5-mile radius of Somer's home.

Marie Spires of New Richmond, Ohio, is Somer's maternal great grandmother. She walked out of the family's home Saturday afternoon to look at the growing memorial.

"I'm shocked that this could happen in this type of community," she said. "And that no one would see or hear anything."

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

Spires said she doesn't know how the little girl died and detectives have not shared any theories about who killed Somer.

A public viewing and funeral are planned for Monday and Tuesday, but graveside services and the burial will be private.


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