In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem

Go down

Normal In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:59 pm

Bloggers spread stories, and ruling them out takes valuable time away from the investigation.
By Dana Treen Story updated at 9:57 AM on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Reward
A combined $45,000 reward is being offered for tips leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Call the Sheriff’s Office at (877) 227-6911 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (845-TIPS) to remain anonymous or e-mail CART@claysheriff.com.

» Jacksonville Journal: Music fest to raise money for Somer Thompson's family
As with any high-profile case, the intense search for a killer in the slaying of 7-year-old Somer Thompson has generated rumors and speculation that can be costly and a frustrating distraction to investigators.

Once, after a swirl of suspicions about a blue Nissan’s possible connection to the case were found to be untrue, calls about the vehicle continued in the Clay County case, Sheriff Rick Beseler said.

“We got 79 additional tips about the blue Nissan after we already said we were not looking for it,” he said.

Other false alarms included a connection to a sex offender arrested in Georgia and suspicions generated by mistakes in a police report.

“You spend a lot of time and energy chasing leads when you have completely eliminated them,” Beseler said.

Rumors, often magnified by bloggers who become attracted to crime cases, usually steal valuable time that could be spent in the field, said Bruce Herring, director of the Institute of Police Technology and Management, which contracts with the University of North Florida and provides law enforcement agencies with instruction.

“Most of it is negative,” he said of the impact.

Not always, though. Perpetrators as well as the curious read those entries, he said.

“Tidbits come that lead to a bad guy once in a while,” Herring said.

That means it can be risky to ignore tips.

And high levels of exposure keep the public’s attention focused on the case.

A flood of calls
Roughly 3,375 tips have poured into the Clay County Sheriff’s Office since the Orange Park girl disappeared Oct. 19 as she was going home from Grove Park Elementary School. The first-grader’s body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill.

No arrests have been made.

The report of the blue Nissan, which had been linked to an apparent abduction attempt of a 5-year-old girl a little more than a week before Somer disappeared, drew wide interest. A woman who believed she foiled the kidnapping was part of a Sheriff’s Office news briefing where she recounted helping the crying girl who said she was being lured into the vehicle.

The suspicions were dismissed when detectives later learned the Nissan was being driven by an officer with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who stopped after thinking the girl had nearly been struck by a car.

But the calls didn’t stop and Beseler worries the confusion could lead to something being missed.

“Potentially someone could have real information and say, 'Oh, they are not looking for a black van; they are looking for a blue Nissan,’ ” he said.

Quashing rumors
In another case that has gripped Northeast Florida, investigators decided to ignore rumors they knew were untrue, but found it important to quickly quash the fast-growing ones.

The Putnam County disappearance of 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings in February generated wild speculation, including a claim that her body had been found. Lt. Johnny Greenwood of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said that allowing that to go unaddressed would have been irresponsible.

“We had to respond,” Greenwood said in an e-mail.

Haleigh, whose sixth birthday was in August, remains missing.

In the Clay County case, a mistake on a police report set off one wave of suspicion.

The day Somer disappeared, a deputy who was among those who responded to the missing girl’s home was called away to an unrelated armed robbery. He arrived at the second scene and caught four suspects, Beseler said. When the officer wrote the report, he forgot to change the address on the call, resulting in armed robbery arrests mistakenly tied to the Thompson home.

“The public sees that and goes ballistic,” Beseler said. “People on blogs and all over the country were writing all these theories. We worked and tried to put that rumor out for several days.”

The nature of the case has also meant attention has been focused on sex offenders. One of those men, who worked on a renovation crew months earlier at a house near where Somer was last seen as she walked home, has been interviewed. Another, whose name was on the initial police report after a woman thought she spotted him near Orange Park, was in Texas. When he discovered he had incorrectly been mentioned in the case, he nervously went to authorities there to say he was not near Florida.

Arrest in Georgia
Speculation has come from other places as well.

When Georgia authorities arrested a sex offender from Florida who had moved to Albany, they notified the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

In the Oct. 26 arrest, the man — whose crimes in Florida were in Hillsborough County — was charged with attempting to entice a child. Beseler said the man is not a suspect in the Somer case.

Herring, who has worked on other high-profile cases, said as cases drag on the potential grows for investigators and the agency to be accused of being inept or covering something up.

“Early on, you have a whole lot of public opinion in your favor,” he said. That support can disappear later.

“The public starts to get impatient,” he said.

Last week, a crisis-management team within the department began offering services to employees who may feel overwhelmed.

“I’m still optimistic — very optimistic — we are going to solve this case,” Beseler said. “Will it be in a couple of days? No.”

User Comments
Rumors
Submitted by HoneyBee on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 3:53 am
There has been alot of misinformation regarding the Somer Thompson case. Once it gets reported, it doesn't get corrected right away and the bloggers and sleuthers are left with confusion and speculation. Sheriff Beseler gave a list of certains behaviors and changes regarding Somer's killer. Talk about vague. Those behaviors belong to half the population of Florida. Let's get real here. LE has released two clues; a description of Somer's tote bag and her lunch box. Are those depictions actual or general? Makes a big difference. When LE asks the public for help, it should be accurate as possible. After all we are talking about a child's murderer. Throw us a bone Sheriff but one with some meat on it!

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
Sheriff Beseler...Why the public goes ballistic
Submitted by Seekthetruth on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 6:23 am
crisis-management team within the department began offering services to employees who may feel overwhelmed??? You have to be kidding me..........Did I actually read this correct? Your employees don't rely on sales for a paycheck. They are there to serve and protect the public.

If there is an error on a police report, and you post it on your website its your problem not correcting it. Don't blame the public.

Failing to notify your community of a possible adubction in a community that is riddled with offenders? Let's say you notified the media right away on the false adudction. People may become aware of what is going on. Maybe an offender may read that story and be scared to do anything. Maybe a mother will be extra careful with her kids and have them picked up at school.

What are these services being offered to employees, that feel overwhelmed? We are tax payers, what services are we paying for?

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
"In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem"
Submitted by NoahVale on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 7:11 am
That's the media and the CCSO fault. I missed the America's Most Wanted episode that covered it. I was hoping for a re-creation of the timeline of events, with every single person who was on that street that day and time. Who all was on that street, what he or she was doing, every single little detail that can be remembered.

I agree with what HoneyBee said. Totally.

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
in response to Seek the Truth
Submitted by Miranda on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 9:01 am
Do you know what it is like to methodically collect evidence from the body of a disfigured and decomposing child in a pile of garbage, then watch the Medical Examiner take the child apart? Have you ever stayed at work for days on end, afraid to go home while there was still a chance the child could be found safe? After the body is found and sleep finally comes, so do the nightmares, grotesque images of the dead child morphing into the faces of your own screaming children, "Daddy, help me!" And you can't save them. Do you know what it is like to be constantly aware that this monster is looking for another baby to kill right now and it is YOUR responsibility to catch him before he does?

No, you can't imagine this, because you are in your comfortable office (sales is it?) sipping your morning beverage, talking to your online friends and playing armchair quarterback. You assume the police are doing the same thing. I assure you, they are not relaxing over coffee and donuts talking about last weeks game, nor are they asking for "services". They are doing all they can to hold themselves together and keep looking for the bad guy, often at the expense of their own families and health. They are living on caffeine, french fries and fumes, missing all their kid's t-ball games and recitals, fearing that their wives may leave them. And you begrudge them services.

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
Short of real facts...
Submitted by Waverider54 on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 9:11 am
...people will speculate and comment. Especially in a case that never gets off the front page. Each day that goes by this case becomes colder and colder. If there was reasonable or probable cause evidence people would have been formally detained for questioning. As far as I know, that has not happened. There has been lots of talk about local "predators". If Florida is like many other states, "offender" registration includes DNA samples. If the murderer was someone local and with an offender record he would have been snapped up by now.

Of course if any DNA collected did not match the offender registry, then the only DNA collected would be from those in close contact with Somer (immediate family, school friends, teachers...).

It is somewhat hard to fathom that something like this could happen in broad daylight without anyone seeing anything. Besides other kids on the street, surely there were parents, school crossing guards, people walking their dogs, people driving by that would have seen SOMETHING. People keep reporting that the neighborhood was close knit. Maybe it is not as close knit as some portray.

The press releases have been almost comical. As others have reported the "profile" did absolutely nothing to whittle down or create a legitimate list of suspects. And this weekend's release of artist depictions of Somer's lunchbox and tote were amateurish - especially when a simply internet product search would have turned up pictures of the actual items.

Are bloggers and tipsters becoming a distraction? Maybe. But with a chance of recovering a $45K reward it is just too good for many to pass up.

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
Well said, Miranda!
Submitted by sjrg on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 9:14 am
And following Somer's murder, these same LEOs had the grueling task of handling a call where a father shot himself and two children while the mother showered. These men and women have been through hell. To compare their stress levels to that of sales people is ludicrous.

Seekthetruth, go back and READ THE ARTICLE! The "attempted abduction" was NOT. It was a mother (who was not watching her child) getting her face on TV. The driver was trying to offer assistance to a five-year-old who was riding her bike in traffic, UNATTENDED, and in danger. Oh...and the driver is an officer with FDLE...a cop.

Wow. And some folks wonder how rumors get started.

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
STILL
Submitted by wtjax on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 9:30 am
no coverage of the armed robbery at the house, either to corroborate or correct the info

this is a HUGE hole in anyones story

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
wtjax
Submitted by sjrg on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 9:48 am
Did you read the article before posting?

"The day Somer disappeared, a deputy who was among those who responded to the missing girl’s home was called away to an unrelated armed robbery. He arrived at the second scene and caught four suspects, Beseler said. When the officer wrote the report, he forgot to change the address on the call, resulting in armed robbery arrests mistakenly tied to the Thompson home."

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
Somer Thompson case
Submitted by 1JACKEDUPCITY on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 10:05 am
I believe the CCSO will catch this monster and I hope he rots in HELL!

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
Quit Playing Colombo!
Submitted by Sisterage on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 10:24 am
I've read many of the Somer-related blogs since she disappeared and have to laugh that at this late date, almost a month later, the authorities are finally addressing all the rumors, innuendo, and out-right lies that are being told in connection with this case. I guess pride prevents them from coming out and just stating the truth - that they have nothing of substance to go on and aren't any closer to solving her murder than they were when she first disappeared. It's not OK they haven't made any more progress in the case, but it is what it is and I'm sure they are doing the absolute best they can. This sitation is stressful for LE, but we need to let them continue to do their jobs. Hopefully one day, something will break and the creep who murdered Somer will be caught, tried, and dies tied to the stretcher with a needle in his/her arm.

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
yup, guess i missed that
Submitted by wtjax on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 10:28 am
my bad, glad it is cleared up

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
This Stuff really upsets the Family
Submitted by jimmyPx on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 11:51 am
Something that people forget is that these wild rumours can negatively affect the victim's family. I really feel for Somer's mother & brother. The pain they must be going through and then to have people say or write nasty things to them is horrible. When I was a kid, my borther and I walked home from the School Bus stop every day with our little sister. If something like this had happened to me, I think the guilt would have destroyed me.

Oh and the CCSO officers need all of the help and understanding that we can give them. I have several family members in Law Enforcement and Miranda said exactly what they go through. There is a reason cops have a very high rate of divorce and alcoholism-----it is a very tough job that most of us could not do.

I live in Orange Park and have a daughter Somer's age. I pray that the CCSO gets a break in this case and catches this monster before he harms another child.

Login or register to post comments Flag as offensive
Amen, Miranda!
Submitted by carlzmom on Thu. 11/12/2009 at 12:06 pm
Miranda, you articulated my response to Seekthetruth's ridiculous comments better than I could have myself. This week, we recognize our military veterans for their service to our country...men and women who serve and protect our citizens...the same "public" that members of law enforcement (LE) serve and protect on the homefront. We, the taxpayers, pay the salaries of our military service men and woman, as well as our LE men and women...and should do so gratefully! While I am NOT saying that the services performed by our military and LE are the same, nor that military wars are the same as the war on crime, these men and women are human beings, not robots, who can and do experience emotional and psychological reactions to, not to mention exhaustion from, extremes that many of us, thankfully, will never see nor experience. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very real...I've observed it first hand. It and other psychological responses to traumatic events are not exclusive to military situations. Not only should LE officers who investigate heinous crimes be afforded services to help them cope with emotional trauma or excessive stress, they deserve it when they need it!

In response to bloggers who may criticize Sheriff Beseler and the CCSO for not sharing every detail about their investiation or every bit of evidence they have, I can only assume that you have never participated in a LE criminal investigation. There are MANY very valid reasons why LE does not release all the evidence they have to the public. Further, there is no way that they could have gotten all the results back from FDLE on everything that has been collected to date in this case. And even when they do, they will have very good reasons for not revealing all those results to the public. Do not assume that CCSO's failure to reveal much detailed evidence in this case means that they have none. This is a REAL criminal investigation, not one that is performed and solved in a one hour TV show! Members of law enforcement are the REAL "truth seekers" in this case, not some blogger who calls him/herself "Seekthetruth" and spews narcissistic, pointless opinions on a website...just because he/she can.

Upthread, I have added the comments. This case is starting to get kinda of strange!!

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/crime/2009-11-12/story/in_somer_thompson_case_rumors_become_a_big_problem

_________________
Prayers for our little HaLeigh Cummings, wherever she may be!!

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
-- Dale Dauten--

Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!
avatar
Wrapitup
Founder
Founder

Join date : 2009-05-28

http://victimsheartland.forumotion.com/forum.htm

Back to top Go down

Normal Re: In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem

Post by Guest on Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:33 am

BS omg Lets blame the bloggers shall we. Jeeze give me a break. LE needs to do their job and quit reading blogs.
avatar
Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Normal Re: In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem

Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:54 am

Somers Mother was on Dr Phil Thursday. She looks like she has lost a ton of weight. Her face was so drawn and thin. She is a survivor and seems to be getting thru this one day at a time. People have been sending her hate mail and hate email, telling her what a horrible mother she was for allowing her children to walk home alone.Her voice cracked when she said, "I am a single mom, I am doing the best I can do". Here this poor woman is going thru hell, hell that no parent should have to endure and getting threatened by some of the public.
avatar
CritterFan1

Join date : 2009-06-01

Back to top Go down

Normal Re: In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:43 am

Somer/Haleigh: The Peanut Gallery Is At It Again
Posted on November 13th, 2009

by Simon Barre

I just received this op-ed piece from TJ Hart. I think he sums up the situation quite well - Simon

I just had to break up another stupid fight on my Twitter site today.

Once again, some in the blogosphere have appointed themselves God and are passing out their judgment on the parents of killed or missing children.

Diena Thompson’s lawyer said the family does not think Somer knew the person who kidnapped and killed her. Investigators said the 7-year-old Somer disappeared on her way home from school in Orange Park, Fla. The search came to a tearful conclusion when her body was discovered in a Georgia landfill days later.

Diena’s been doing a lot of interviews on national TV shows. Now she’s getting criticized by some people for it.

She’s getting hate mail and calls.

“I wonder what kind of person would attack me when I’m already down,” said Diena.

People are calling her a bad mom, among other things, for letting her kids walk home from school.

It is not much different than some of the nasty things some bloggers are saying about the Haleigh Cummings disappearance one county south in the town of Satsuma, FL.

Although there is plenty of suspicion and bizarre behavior to go around involving Haleigh’s family members, there are also those on the internet who as so hateful on all sides of this equation that one would think a civil war involving old ladies swinging purses is about to erupt.

OBSERVATIONS REGARDING THESE TYPES OF PARTICIPANTS:

· Appear to have a distrust of police

· Appear to hatred for men in general

· Appear to revel in the shortcomings of any woman

· Appear to have a strong need to find an alliance of like-minded opinion-makers

· Most don’t even live in area—let alone in the state of Florida.

What has spawned this behavior as of late?

This reporter doesn’t know the answer, but he is very shocked at its existence.

TJ Hart
Director of News and Programming

http://www.bloggernews.net/122960

I think it is just descpicable that Somer's mother is going through this. Hasn't she been through enough? And, the killer is still out there!

_________________
Prayers for our little HaLeigh Cummings, wherever she may be!!

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
-- Dale Dauten--

Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!
avatar
Wrapitup
Founder
Founder

Join date : 2009-05-28

http://victimsheartland.forumotion.com/forum.htm

Back to top Go down

Normal Re: In Somer Thompson case, rumors become a big problem

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum