Family prepares to bury 8-year-old Cherish

Published On: Jun 25 2013 04:47:35 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 26 2013 02:30:09 PM EDT

Cherish lived with her mom, two younger sisters and her mom's boyfriend in on Jacksonville's Westside.


Rayne Perrywinkle's daughters walk to the car to go to the funeral home with their mom to make arrangements to bury their 8-year-old sister.

"I can't wrap my arms around what has happened," said Ann Dugger, of the Justice Coalition. "I don't think Jacksonville has wrapped their arms around this. You see we're, right now, we're in a city in a state in a country that is grieving for a precious little girl whose life was taken too soon and who's life was taken so horribly."

Investigators say registered sex offender Donald Smith kidnapped and killed 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. But the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office didn't tell the media about a possible abduction so it could alert the public until about five and a half hours after the girl went missing.

DOCUMENTS:  JSO timeline in Cherish's abduction | JSO assigned resources in abduction

"When they put out that first EARS (media alert) broadcast, we already (suspected) foul play," Sheriff John Rutherford said in an exclusive interview Monday. "Why that signal 30, the abduction information, was not included in that EARS broadcast, that's what I'm looking into."

"The media time was at the initial point of the investigation. That could've been helpful," Rutherford added.

He said his officers in the field did the best job they could have, scouring the area for the missing girl with the help of helicopters and K9 units.

About 10 and a half hours after Cherish went missing, an officer spotted and stopped Smith's van on Interstate 95 and Interstate 10.

About an hour and half later, at 10:23 a.m., JSO found the body believed to be that of Cherish in the woods near a Northside church.

"This monster, this man who calls himself a man, was so evil and so perverted, and we will strive for justice to be served in every way that we can," Dugger said. "We will be there for the family. The mother is devastated. I've seen her many times run out of the house in a complete ball of screaming and beating the dirt. It's horrific. I can't even imagine."

A viewing for Cherish will be held from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Paxon Revival Center Church, located at 5461 Commonwealth Ave. Funeral Services will also be held at the church at 2 p.m. Friday.

An interment will follow at Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery at 7242 Normandy Blvd. All services are open to the public.

Hardage-Giddens Town and Country Funeral Home is donating the funeral services and the cemetery plot to Cherish's family.

"We have been part of this community since 1929 and we grieve when the community grieves," said Roger Delaney, general manager or Hardage-Giddens Town and Country. "We wanted to do our part and help relieve some of the pain for this family. It is our honor to help them in their time of need."

Donations are being accepted to help the family with other funeral items, such as the headstone and flowers for the service. If you would like to donate, you can do so through the Justice Coalition by calling 904-783-6312.


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