ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Diena Thompson, whose daughter Somer was killed in October 2009, was honored in Clay County on Tuesday for her work in Somer's name.
The 7-year-old was kidnapped walking home from her Orange Park school, and her body was found days later in a Georgia landfill. Jarred Harrell, who's accused of killing Somer, is awaiting trial.
County leaders are supporting Thompson's foundation by making sure anyone who lives in Clay County remembers Somer and works to keep the community's children safe.
County commissioners proclaimed April 5 to be Somer Thompson Day in Orange Park and Clay County. That day this year would have been Somer's 9th birthday.
Everyone in the county is asked to wear purple April 5.
Thompson was also presented with the key to the county.
"Eight-hundred thousand children go missing every year," Thompson said. "We need to touch those numbers. This is a pandemic. We need to stop it."
Clay County commissioners also announced that October in Clay County will now be dedicated to stopping sex offenders and predators.
"I just want to say thank you to my family, my board members," Thompson said. "It means a lot. Sheriff (Rick) Beseler for finding my baby, and thank you to everyone."
Somer's twin brother, Samuel, and her older sister, Abi, were at the ceremony Tuesday to support their mom.
Thompson said she wants to bring a safety program called radKIDS to Clay County that will teach children what to do if someone tries to kidnap them.