MERIDIAN, Miss. -- In an interview at her Meridian home, Kriss Mizelle, Jarred Harrell's aunt, told our sister station First Coast News Harrell is a gentle young man who couldn't hurt a flea. But locals in the small town are talking about two things: snow and the arrest of Jarred Harrell.
Harrell, 24, has been named a person of interest in the disappearance and murder of Somer Thompson. He was arrested Thursday in Meridian on 29 counts of child porn. The Clay County Sheriff's Office said the pornography crimes occured in Clay County.
READ THE ARREST WARRANT: WARNING -- VERY GRAPHIC DETAILS -- NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN
Mizelle said the family has been inundated with questions.
"It looked like a bee's nest around here. It was the very furthest thing from my mind that my nephew was in any kind of trouble," said Mizelle.
She said she understands the fear in Jacksonville and the need for answers in the tragic disappearance and murder of Somer Thompson.
But Mizelle said officials are questioning the wrong man.
"Anybody can take a mug shot and sling it up on a television set. This man was arrested for this, this man is suspected of this, this man was living here... well so were countless other people."
Mizelle called the reason for Harrell's arrest a shock, but said others had access to her nephew's computer. Regardless, she said he is no killer.
"I do not believe with all of my heart. I do not believe it was my nephew. At all, I just do not."
Mizelle said she is speaking out because Harrell's immediate family is virtually shell shocked by all the media attention. She said they are afraid whatever they say will be twisted.
Harrell is originally from Lucedale, Mississippi, but lived in Meridian. He was homeschooled before moving to Florida. Police say he lived in a home on Gano Ave., which was just one block west from where Somer Thompson disappeared.
His family said Harrell just moved back to Mississippi a few weeks ago.
Harrell will face an extradition hearing in Mississippi next week. He is currently being held on a $1 million bond in the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Meridian.
Somer disappeared on her walk home from Grove Park Elementary Oct. 19. Her body was found a few days later in a Georgia landfill.
WTLV First Coast News