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‘Greatly loved’ Fla. girl, 7, laid to rest

Diena Thompson was escorted to services yesterday for her daughter, Somer. No suspects have been named in the death. Diena Thompson was escorted to services yesterday for her daughter, Somer. No suspects have been named in the death. (Phil Coale/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / October 28, 2009

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ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Mourners said farewell yesterday to a 7-year-old Florida girl whose body was found in a Georgia landfill after she vanished on her way home from school, and they honored her favorite color by releasing hundreds of purple balloons into the sky.

Purple flowers adorned Somer Thompson’s wooden casket and filled the floral displays around First Baptist Church of Orange Park. Her family wore purple ribbons on their clothing.

“Somer was able to love greatly. She was also greatly loved,’’ said Pastor David Tarkington. The north Florida girl disappeared a week ago Monday while walking home from school. Her body was discovered two days later in a landfill in southern Georgia.

Somer’s parents, Diena and Samuel Thompson, who are estranged, sat across the aisle from each other during the funeral.

In an interview outside an Orange Park restaurant, Samuel Thompson said he was devastated by his daughter’s death.

“My little girl is in heaven now. She doesn’t have to deal with this wicked world we live in,’’ he said.

The Clay County sheriff’s office has investigated about 1,700 leads, but has not named any suspects or people of interest.