Image: Jarred Harrell
Clay County Sheriff's Office via AP
Jarred Harrell is seen in this booking photo released by the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
NBC News and news services
updated 3/26/2010 12:34:03 PM ET 2010-03-26T16:34:03

Investigators in Florida have charged a 24-year-old man with murder in the slaying of a 7-year-old girl who disappeared while walking home from school last year.

Jarred Mitchell Harrell was charged Friday with killing Somer Thompson. He has been in custody since Feb. 11, when authorities arrested Harrell in Mississippi on Florida child pornography charges. Harrell was then extradited to Florida.

Somer disappeared Oct. 19 and a massive search was launched in the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill nearly 50 miles away.

Detectives said Harrell was then living at his parents' home near Somer's school and house.

The news was first reported by the Clay Today Web site, which reported that Harrell was a former resident of Orange Park, Florida, and lived on the same route that the girl used when she went missing in October.

Video: Somer’s mom addresses murder suspect The Clay Today report came ahead of a press conference by "Team Somer" of Clay County Sheriff's Office at the Frist Baptist Church of Orange Park.

Jail records released by the Sheriff’s Office said that Harrell, 24, was charged with premeditated murder, sexual battery of a child under 12 and lewd and lascivious battery, according to Clay Today.

Harrell has been in the Clay County Jail since last month when he was extradited from Meridian, Miss., Clay Today said.

The Web site added that Harrell had been charged with more than 55 counts as well as charges — unrelated to Somer Thompson — that he sexually molested a young girl and videotaped the assault, according to court records.

At an initial appearance in Clay County Court earlier this month Harrell pleaded not guilty to the charges and had asked for a public defender.

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