Tipster in Somer Thompson Case Speaks Out | News

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Tipster in Somer Thompson Case Speaks Out

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Thousands of tips poured in after Somer Thompson disappeared, but it was just one that set justice in motion.

Now the family that came forward in 2009 is speaking out about their experience.

"The few times I've been with him, the loss in his eyes is enough to bring any man to his knees," he said.

Rod Buchanan has sat in silence with Somer Thompson's grandfather, hoping the company will bring him some peace. In the two and a half years since Somer's murder, he said there's little he can say.

"I hope he gets some comfort in knowing this guy is going to plead guilty and save everybody the torment of a trial," he said.  

Buchanan's daughter and son-in-law lived with accused killer Jarred Harrell in 2008. His daughter went to police after she said she found child pornography on Harrell's computer, two months before Somer's murder.

"When we opened the door to the sheriff's department, I looked at my little girl and said, 'Hey, what you're fixing to do is going to be the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. Are you sure you want to go through with it?' And she just looked at me and smiled and said, 'Absolutely,'" he said.  

Months later, it was Buchanan's turn to call the cops, and tell them where Harrell had been hiding out. 

"We were tip number 4,001. If it hadn't been for us, they wouldn't have tied him to the Somer Thompson murder anytime soon. Even the detective told us that," he said.

But it's been a hard road for Buchanan and his family.

He said they've been harassed mercilessly by people who believe Harrell is innocent.

He hopes Friday's court date will put an end to all that.

"All I can say is 'thank you' to the people out there who supported me and my family, and to the rest of you, eat crow. It's as simple as that," he said.


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