Three days in, no leads in Somer Thompson disappearance

7-year-old Somer Thompson has “disappeared off the face of the earth,” Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler has admitted in a case that has “baffled” investigators.

Somer’s mom Diena tearfully plead for the girl’s return, telling viewers that Somer’s twin brother was “lost” without her, but investigators have so far found no clues in the girl’s disappearance. Somer was walking home from her school near Jacksonville, FL, with her twin brother and 10-year-old sister when the children had a disagreement. Somer ran ahead of her siblings, disappearing from view, and has not been seen since. As no one witnessed an abduction, an Amber Alert was not issued until the following morning.

Authorities report having interviewed around 60 of the 94 sex offenders living in a three mile radius, and that they plan to expand their scope after turning up no leads in Somer’s disappearance. Beseler urged anyone with information to come forward in hopes of turning up information about Somer’s whereabouts:

“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.”

Beseler also said:

“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.”

One of the sadder aspects of this case, in contrast with last week’s “balloon boy” waste of time, is Somer’s mother’s words to her daughter at a press conference. Diena Thompson, whose child is genuinely missing and endangered, tearfully told Somer through reporters that if she is afraid or apprehensive, that’s she’s not in trouble and to please come home. It’s heartbreaking, and really puts the Heene’s actions into a more callous light, driving home the human impact of diverting law enforcement resources and media coverage.

[ABC]