How Somer Thompson Suspect Was Caught

Somer Thompson Suspect Reappears

One night Buchannan's daughter and her fiance say they found their iPod in Harrell's car.

"Being that he was a family friend, they give him an option," Rod Buchannan said. "Get your stuff, get out right now, middle of the night, or we call the police and put you in jail."

They say Harrell left, but in his haste left behind his computer. That would prove to be a revealing mistake. Buchannan's son had told his sister about what he had seen on Harrell's computer, and she decided to take a look for herself.

"So they decided to search the computer at that point. And that's when they found -- I mean, it was right there on the desktop," said Buchannan. "There was no effort made whatsoever to hide the material."

The siblings told their parents they found hard-core child pornography on Harrell's computer. A lot of it. And they thought he may even know some of the children.

"Stuff that our children shouldn't have seen. Should have never had to see," said Buchannan.

Buchannan said he immediately took his wife and daughter to the police and turned over the computer.

But he was unprepared to find, only two months later, Harrell's car parked at the house on Gano Avenue. The house belonged to Harrell's mother. It was in a school zone, near Somer's school.

"That was just, I don't know, just a gut instinct, you know, just get that sick, icky feeling," said Lisa Buchannan. Her husband recalled the chilling moment. "We got goosebumps," he said. "We looked at each other and I said, you know, we got to tell somebody."

The Buchannans discovered Harrell's car in the driveway just two days after police found Somer's body. They drove over to the investigation command center and spoke to the lead detective about their concerns.

"There must have been 25-30 police cars, not counting all the unmarked ones and the evidence technician vans, this place was a mad house," said Buchannan. "We informed him that our children had turned in a computer that contained a lot of child pornography. And that Mr. Harrell was being investigated by the sex crimes unit."

Strange Disappearance of Shed

The Buchannans claim they pointed out Harrell's car in the driveway to investigators. "As far as they knew that house was vacant. Police were not even aware that anybody lived there," said Buchannan.

But could police place Harrell in the house the day Somer disappeared? Public records show Harrell's family had moved out weeks earlier. Neighbors, however, remember Harrell was still coming and going from the house even after the family moved.

And shortly after the Buchannans' report, neighbors noticed something else that fueled suspicion. His shed suddenly disappeared from his house on Gano -- only to reappear at a different property.

But despite this possible evasive maneuvering and the child pornography allegedly found on his computer, Harrell wasn't the only suspect on the police department's radar.

After Somer Thompson disappeared, the residents of Orange Park were stunned to learn that their children had been walking through a virtual minefield of registered sex offenders each day: 162 living in just a five-mile radius of Somer's home.

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