Diena Thompson could not help but smile as she watched the home in which her daughter was murdered be burned to the ground. It had been more than five years since her daughter was killed inside the home, but Ms Thomspon said seeing it engulfed in flames was cathartic.
Somer Thompson was 7 years old when she was walking home from school near Jacksonville, Florida on 19 October, 2009 with friends and siblings. She ran ahead of the pack to pet a dog outside the home where Jared Harrell was staying with his mother. Harrell lured Somer into the house where he raped her then killed her, reports show. Authorities later found Somer’s body in a Georgia landfill.
Harrell, now 29, was convicted and is serving six life sentences. The house eventually went into foreclosure and the bank donated it to a charity set up for Somer. Ms Thompson then donated the house to the Orange Park Fire Department to use for training exercises.
The fire department used the house for two days to conduct search and rescue training, which crews rarely get to do in a real burning house. On the last day of training the department invited Ms Thompson out and she threw a flare into the house, starting a blaze that would burn the house to the ground.
“I get to burn their house down,“ Ms Thompson told WJXT at the scene. ”I am the big bad wolf this time, knocking down your door."
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