Detective in Somer Thompson case dies

49-year-old was part of team that led to arrest, conviction in girl's killing

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Fred Eckert

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - A longtime Clay County detective who was part of the investigative team that led to the arrest and conviction in the abduction and killing of 7-year-old Somer Thompson in 2009 has died.

Fred Eckert, of Green Cove Springs, worked for the Clay County Sheriff's Office for 21 years.

The 49-year-old died Friday of cancer.

Eckert was part of Team Somer, a group of investigators who developed the evidence that led to the arrest of Jarred Harrell. Harrell pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year for killing the Orange Park girl.

Eckert is survived by his wife, Cindy, and two sons, Jacob and Caleb.

His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Russell Baptist Church, with burial at Russell Haven of Rest Cemetery.

Visitation with the family was from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718, or online at

Arrangements are under the care of Russell Haven of Rest Cemetery, Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 2335 Sandridge Road, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. Family and friends may share their condolences at:

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