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Police review more than 1,000 tips in death of Florida girl

A sign in Orange Park., Fla., expressed condolences to the family of Somer Thompson, whose body was found in a landfill. A sign in Orange Park., Fla., expressed condolences to the family of Somer Thompson, whose body was found in a landfill. (Will Dickey/ The Florida Times-Union via Associated Press)
Associated Press / October 26, 2009

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ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Investigators had more than a thousand tips but are still trying to figure out what happened when 7-year-old Somer Thompson disappeared on her walk home from a north Florida school last week.

At a fund-raiser yesterday for Somer’s family, children played in a bounce house as adults watched carefully. They vowed to find the girl’s killer and raised about $18,500 so her mother doesn’t have to go back to work immediately.

Somer’s name and photo were everywhere at the carnival-like fund-raiser, which was held in a park in the town’s center. A silent raffle, a bake sale, and glittery makeovers for little girls were offered to help the family of Somer, who disappeared after school Monday. Her body was found in a Georgia landfill Wednesday.

“I’ve been crying since day one,’’ said Amanda Wendorff, a co-organizer of the fund-raiser. “When it’s a child, it just touches a community.’’

Wendorff, the wife of a Clay County sheriff’s deputy, has four children She urged people at the carnival to be on the lookout for anyone suspicious, underscoring the fear that is running deep in the community.

Meanwhile, detectives from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies are combing through tips: More than 1,150 calls from people around the United States have poured in.

No one has come forward to say they saw the girl abducted or attacked.

A public viewing and funeral are planned for today and tomorrow.