Mom Burns Down House of Her Daughter's Rapist & Murderer

Nothing is ever going to make the pain and loss Florida mom Diena Thompson feels goes away. But she had the opportunity to do something that might help her get closure after her 7-year-old daughter Somer was brutally raped and murdered seven years ago. The mom got to burn down the rapist and killer's house.


Little Somer was lured into the suburban Jackson house by Jarred Harrell while she was walking home from school on October 19, 2009. Inside the home, he sexually assaulted her and then smothered her. He then brazenly dumped her body into the garbage and she was found a few days later in a Georgia landfill.

Harrell, 24 at the time, is spending his entire life in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, sexual battery, and other charges. Had he pleaded innocent and was found guilty, he could have received the death penalty.

I can't imagine what it must have been like for Thompson to pass this horrible house and know it was the last place her daughter saw before being tortured and murdered. The house was foreclosed and the bank gave ownership of it to the Somer Thompson Foundation. And they had a brilliant idea—the only thing you could do with it, really, since you were never going to feel good about reselling it: they gave it to the Orange Park Fire Department to use for training.

Thompson, 40, wore firefighting gear and joined firefighters and hundreds of bystanders Thursday to help torch Harrell's house and burn it to the ground. The mom reportedly called the experience cathartic and said she felt relieved to know she could drive in the neighborhood and never have to see the "piece of trash" house again.

Would you have burned down this man's house if you were in this mom's shoes?


Image via Ada be/Flickr

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