Murder Victims' Families Say Cuts Will Cost Lives

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Diena Thompson couldn’t hold back the tears as she recounted the 2009 rape and murder of her daughter Somer.

“To all who plan to harm our children, we will not stand for it anymore,“ said Thompson.

Somer’s accused killer was being investigated by Florida’s Cybercrime Unit when investigators say he raped and killed the seven year old in Clay County. But investigators were too late.

The unit only has 34 employees and just 15 are investigator. The U.S. Department of Justice has identified 34,000 computers in Florida that may have been used to download child pornography, which means there are just too many leads for 15 investigators to track them all down.

And the situation could get worse. Governor Rick Scott wants to scale the unit back to just six investigators. Diena says if investigators couldn’t save her daughter with 15 investigators, then having just six will mean more kids are raped and killed.

“It’s a huge mistake with disastrous endings to it,” said Diena.

Mark Lunsford, the father of Jessica Lunsford who was abducted and killed in 2005, says child predators welcome the cuts.

“The predators will laugh at you because of the weakness that you show. We can’t show them weakness. They have no heart,” said Lunsford.

The parents hope their stories will help sway the legislature to fund the Cybercrime Unit, so more families don’t have to share their nightmare. Lawmakers are still working out their budgets. They’re willing to listen to the families pleas, but with a 3.75 billion dollars deficit, they say everything is on the table.


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  • by WOW Location: Florida on Mar 30, 2011 at 10:54 AM
    Friends of Rick get your head out of your A**.FDLE has done how many of these go get the stats.That is the story. Governor Scott has chosen to cut the Child Predator CyberCrime Unit (CPCU) from the Attorney General’s Office. How can he cut another Cabinet Officers budget? I agree with the Governor that we have a lot of duplication and that is waste. But to cut a Law Enforcement Unit devoted to catching persons that prey on children I don’t understand. Now when you look into this and I hope you do; you will be told oh no we are transferring them to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Not so only 6 out of 13 will go to FDLE. Now you will be told that FDLE does this type of work. Not true they have 3 people for the entire state assigned to a unit called C-3.Check on how many cases they made themselves not cases where they assisted. Florida children are at risk and the Governor and the Attorney General don’t care. Put politics aside. The CPCU is 2mil of a large budget. Most other states have a unit that does this assigned to their AGs Office. Then why is our Attorney General getting rid of it? Look at the statistics for the CPCU they are public record ask The FBI in Jacksonville, Orlando Miami how valuable CPCU is…. Ask parents. Most of all please ask the Governor and the Attorney General WHY!!!!!!!!!!!. Please go to myfloridalegal.com click on cybercrime then the annual report. Thank you and I hope you can help.
  • by A friend of Ricks Location: Florida on Mar 29, 2011 at 05:32 PM
    The Attorney General's entry into the investigation of internet crimes against children was a political move initiated by then AG Charlie Christ and adopted by incoming AG Bill McCollum. FDLE had been at the forefront of these investigations since the mid 90's. By the time the AG came on board two federally funded task forces were in place in Florida. A third federally funded task force has since come on board. These task forces form a statewide network of state, federal and local law enforcement officers who work these cases proactively. These task forces and FDLE have consistently provided investigators with the specialized training necessary to conduct these investigations. Unfortunately, politics played a big role in approving the creation of the AG's Unit, an attempt to do what FDLE and the task forces had been doing successfully for a number of years...this has been a true duplication of state services.
  • by angela Location: tallahassee, fl on Mar 29, 2011 at 05:06 PM
    Instead of saying we have only 7 part of the task force, why don't we have several law enforcement agencies work together and have volunteers also come in. I am sure there will be individuals with leo standards that would love to come help to keep these creeps off the street then deal with another rape of a innocent child or a kiddo being abducted. Also can get agencies such as perverted justices to come in and do most of the man hours to help keep the creeps off the street and prevent them harming our innocent kids of florida.
  • by weneedthis on Mar 29, 2011 at 04:27 PM
    we need cut back on law enforcement.. I mean there would be a lot more respect going around.. maybe people would stop making false allegations, stop citizens stalk people "for the community's safety, and it would help with people's privacy in general.
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