Jarred Harrell Named Person of Interest in 7-Year-Old Somer Thompson’s Murder

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UPDATE: Police received a report that Jarred Harrell’s computer was filled with child porn two months before Somer Thompson was killed. So why did it take them months to arrest the pervert? See update after the jump…



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Somer Thompson was known to stop at the home where Jarred Harrell lived to pet a dog.

​If there was ever an innocent, it was Somer Thompson. The 7-year-old
was walking home from school in Orange Park, Florida when she
disappeared on October 19. Three days later her body was found in a
Georgia landfill that services the city.

But it now appears her killer may have been on police radar months before.

In August, Jarred Harrell’s roommates booted him out of their apartment after suspecting that he’d stolen one of their cell phones. They thought the 24-year-old might be a pedophile, so they searched a computer he left behind.

They found images and video of child porn, so they turned it over to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department.

Why Harrell wasn’t arrested at that time is unknown. But he apparently moved to a house in Somer’s neighborhood, where the little girl was known to stop and pet a dog. That house was raided yesterday, and police arrested Harrell in Meridian, Mississippi.

So far he’s only been hit with the computer porn charges, but it’s a whopping 29 count charge. His $1 million bond suggests that police view him as more than a garden variety pervert.

They’re only calling him a person of interest in Somer’s case right now. But here’s hoping they’ve finally caught the degenerate who killed a little girl.

UPDATE: Why did it take so long for police to arrest Jarred Harrell after they found child porn on his computer?

On August 10, two months before Somer Thompson was murdered, her body dumped in the trash, Harrell’s roommates brought a computer to the sheriff’s office saying it was filled with child porn.

Rod Buchanan says Harrell was living with his stepdaughter and her fiance when they accused him of stealing from them. Harrell was booted from the house, and when the stepdaughter found porn on a computer he left behind, she brought it to Jacksonville County police, who sent the computer to Clay County three days later.

Buchanan again went to the sheriff’s office after Somer disappeared on October 19 when he learned how close Harrell’s new home was to Somer’s house. But it would still take four months before police arrested him on the porn charges and named him a person of interest in Somer’s murder.

Did the very slow wheels of justice allow Harrell to remain free long enough to kill the 7-year-old?

A timeline of the porn case shows just how turtlesque those wheels move. Though the Clay County sheriff’s office received the computer on August 13, it wasn’t sent to the Florida attorney general’s office until September 25. And that agency didn’t begin testing until October 9, when it received a search warrant.

At the time it was just a child porn case, so police saw no real urgency in rushing the process, which normally takes three to six months. But a week later, Somer was dead.

Clay Sheriff Rick Beseler has defended his agency’s slow motion response to the initial report:

“An investigation into any allegation of child pornography possession
involves far more than simply establishing that a computer contains the
illegal photos or movies. Detectives must be able to prove how it was
acquired, who had possession and when. This involves the painstaking
process of verifying download times, bank transactions, source of
pornography and methods of payment. All this must then be linked back
to a suspect before obtaining a warrant and making an arrest.To infer that the Harrell child pornography investigation somehow languished is unfair and inaccurate.”

So what do you think, dear reader? Was this simply a matter of police with more crime than manpower doing the best they could? Or did they callously treat a reputed perv with lethargy, allowing him months of freedom to perhaps molest children or even kill a little girl?

Also see 7-Year-Old Somer Thompson Missing in Orange Park, Florida

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