The mother of a girl raped and murdered five years ago was allowed to burn down the house where her daughter was killed.
On Thursday afternoon, Diena Thompson set fire to a house in Orange Park, Florida, where Jared Harrell lived when he killed her daughter in October, 2009. Firefighters on the scene nodded approvingly.
“I get to burn their house down," Thompson said, according to News4Jax. "I am the big bad wolf this time, knocking down your door."
Thompson's 7-year-old daughter, Somer, vanished while walking home from school in October, 2009. Her body was found two days later in a Georgia landfill. about 55 miles north of her Orange Park, Fla. home.
Investigators said she had been sexually assaulted and strangled, according to CBS News.
In February, 2012, Harrell pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, sexual battery and other charges. He was sentenced to life in prison, the New York Daily News reports.
Harrell, 29, lived at a house owned by his mother at the time of the murder. The home eventually went into foreclosure and the bank transferred ownership to the Somer Thompson Foundation, a charity set up by Diena Thompson.
The foundation donated the house to the Orange Park Fire Department so that it could be set ablaze as part of a training exercise, according to Jacksonville.com.
Firefighters will use the burning house for two days to teach search and rescue techniques, First Coast News reports.
Thompson was allowed to ignite the flames by throwing a flare through a window onto bales of hay placed inside the house.
Orange Park Fire Chief Ty Silcox told Jacksonville.com he thought it was appropriate to allow her participation.
“Maybe it will help her heal a little bit,” Silcox said.
Once the burning debris is cleaned up, Thompson will consider a new use for the land, possibly a playground, according to News4Jax.com.
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