Sheriff Says Somer Thompson's Killer May Exhibit Behavioral Changes

May have scratches, stop using vehicle, have unnatural interest in the case.

October 28, 2009, 2:05 PM

Oct. 28, 2009— -- The day after little Somer Thompson was buried, Sheriff Rick Beseler said his focus has changed from the 7-year-old girl to the person who killed her.

"Yesterday was about Somer Thompson," Beseler said at a news conference today, referring to the Florida girl who disappeared Oct. 19 while walking home from school. Her body was later found in a Georgia landfill. "Today is about her killer."

Beseler, the Clay County sheriff, said investigators have checked out hundreds of leads called in to a hotline, but he said the key people have yet to call in.

"We're referring to people associated with the offender in this case," Beseler said. They likely don't realize they are associated with the killer, he said.

The sheriff urged people to alert detectives if they notice certain changes in people's behavior, like "an unnatural interest" in the girl's case, or hiding their vehicle in a shed or giving it away.

"You will recognize the change and even question them about it but not realize it is associated" with the Somer Thompson case, Beseler said.

He said telltale signs would be a combination of several behaviorial changes, including:

$30,000 Reward in Somer Thompson Case

Police say they've checked out nearly all of the more than 90 sex offenders living within a 3-mile radius of Somer's home. Repeated searches of a vacant house near where the little girl disappeared have not yet yielded any obvious clues.

Police are hoping that samples taken from the house and the landfill where Somer's body was found will give investigators something to go on.

A preliminary autopsy has been completed, but the results have not been released.

A group called Justice Coalition has put up a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Somer's killer. Some of that reward money came from Crimestoppers, which urged anyone with information to call 866-845-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.

Clay County police asked tipsters to call 877-227-6911.

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