ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Members of the Clay County community came together at Moosehaven to remember Somer Thompson 3 years after her death, and it was designed to be a celebration of her life.
Somer was abducted and murdered on her way home from school on October 19, 2009. Her body was found in a Georgia landfill 2 days later. Jarred Harrell was later arrested for her murder and is now serving life in prison.
Somer's mother Deina receiving hugs of support at the event Friday night. Her friend Jackelyn Iosa had to be at this memorial, to ensure Somer is not forgotten.
"I have to show my love and my support for Diena because she is a very strong woman,and does tremendous work with the foundation."
This Memorial Fall Festival sponsored by the Somer Thompson Foundation was upbeat on purpose as Somer would have wanted they said. There was a DJ and dancing, Somer's sister Abby singing, and bounce houses for the kids.
"From here on out we are going to do it more kid friendly, more upbeat,
more festival type, we are celebrating her life rather than the tragedy that happened," said Kimberly Screws, the event planner.
"3 years have passed since Clay County became famous for all the wrong reasons," said Diena Thompson.
Thompson did thank those who supported her for three years, and spoke of her foundations work to help others in her situation and prevent tragedies to other children.
"I pledge to continue to bring the fight to the predators among us, no peace for predators."
Signatures were also being collected in support of naming Kingsley avenue in Orange Park Somer Thompson Memorial Parkway, an idea proposed by foundation board member Bobby Ingram of the Molly Hatchet Band.
"To have a memorial parkway where people can drive down everyday
and remember and think about what happened to our community, how it was severed and how the community has bonded together again," said Ingram.
Atlantic Beach businessman Mike Williams formed a group called Children;'s Safe Passage after the murder to support groups like the Somer Thompson Foundation. He presented a check to Thompson for $4,000 from a golf fundraiser. Diena Thompson says unfortunately her foundation has been able to give grants to help three families who have lost children to predators, two of those predators have been caught and brought to justice she says.
First Coast News