Where Is Somer Thompson? Police 'Desperately' Seek Tips in 7-Year-Old's Disappearance

Mother of 7-year-old begs for her return while police question sex offenders.

October 20, 2009, 4:37 PM

Oct. 21, 2009— -- The mother of a missing 7-year-old Florida girl who police fear was abducted on her way home from school begged for her daughter's safe return today as police continued interviewing the dozens of sex offenders who live in the area.

"They should know that she's one of the most loving little girls in the whole wide world. She doesn't know a stranger," Diena Thompson said of her daughter, Somer. "And if somebody has her, please just bring her home."

Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler told "Good Morning America" today that police have interviewed nearly 60 of the 94 registered sex offenders that live within a three-mile radius and plan to expand their "circle of interest" to five miles out. But nearly 48 hours after Somer Thompson was last seen, they are no closer to finding her.

"This case is very troubling in that we just don't have a lot of information," Beseler said, asking the public for tips. "We really believe that ... Somer has been removed from the area."

Police had already been investigating a separate child abduction attempt two weeks ago in which the potential abductor tried to lure a girl into a car, one block away from the spot where Somer was last seen.

Beseler said today that authorities had located both the car and the individual and are "pretty confident" the cases are not connected.

Holding a picture of her daughter, Thompson told "Good Morning America" that her family, especially Somer's twin brother, are devastated.

"We just don't know what to do without her," she said.

Somer vanished Monday while on her way home from school with her twin and 10-year-old sister. She had argued with the two other children, Thompson said, and ran ahead of them, far enough that they lost sight of her.

When the other children got home and she wasn't there, they dropped their backpacks and went out looking for her.

Sheriff: 'We Desperately Need Someone to Give Us a Call'

Though Somer disappeared Monday afternoon, an Amber Alert was not issued until 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Beseler said that because no one saw an abduction, Somer's case did not initially meet the criteria set forth by the state to issue an alert.

But after she was not found by the next morning and considering her age and "some other factors," Beseler said, the state eventually issued the alert.

"We desperately need someone to give us a call," he said. "All we need is one phone call, one phone call to bring Somer home."

Thompson, her eyes full of tears, also spoke directly to her daughter.

"I love you," she said. "And you're not in trouble. Just come home."

Sgt. Dan Mahla of the Clay County Sherriff's Office said Tuesday that it would be "totally out of character" for the second-grader to run away and not come home.

Somer was last seen just before 3 p.m. heading home from Grove Park Elementary School. She is 4-foot-5 and weighs 65 pounds. She was last seen wearing a ponytail with a red bow and carrying a purple Hannah Montana backpack and a lunchbox.

At 4 p.m. the girl's mother called home and was told Somer had not arrived. The mother left work and contacted the sheriff's office.

The search included canine units, mounted police, dive teams and helicopters with heat-sensing technology.

Several police agencies, the FBI and local volunteers began scouring the wooded areas in near where Somer was last seen.

He added that investigators have found "no physical evidence that might lead us to where she might be."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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