Tragedy as girl, eight, is found murdered in Florida church Jun 22, 2013 20:36:48 GMT
Post by Focus on Jun 22, 2013 20:36:48 GMT
* Charish Perriwinke, 8, was out with her mom and two siblings on a Friday night shopping trip
* Florida sex offender, Donald Smith, 56, spoke with family and offered to take girl for a burger
* Smith abducted Charish and a police search began within minutes of her disappearance
* Child's body was found at local church early this morning
* Smith is now back in custody, caught by police as he was fleeing onto the interstate
An eight-year-old girl has been found dead in a church just an hour after she was abducted by a sex offender.
The body of Charish Perriwinkle was found in the church in Jacksonvile, Florida after a frantic search today.
Registered Florida sex offender Donald Smith, 56, has been arrested over her death.
He was released from jail less than three weeks ago and reportedly struck up a friendship with his victim's mother in Walmart.
Investigators say that Smith befriended the child's mother and her three children in the store before then offering to take the girl to the McDonald's by the entrance.
She agreed to let Charish head off with the man she had only just met whilst she took care of her other children and continued browsing the shelves.
Less than an hour later, Charish was dead.
Kidnapped then murdered : 8-year-old Charish Perriwinkle was taken from a Jacksonville WalMart store last night by a sex offender. Less than an hour after she had gone missing her body was found in a nearby church
Looking for a victim : Donald Smith, 56, had only been released from jail three weeks ago. He befriended the child's mother in Walmart and was captured on CCTV leaving the store with her
The police search in Jacksonville began almost as soon as Charish went missing. Cops say her body was found at a church early this morning, in the Northside area of the city.
The suspect, Smith, was arrested by traffic cops who were on the lookout for his minivan. He was driving towards the interstate and looking to make a getaway.
Smith had been out of jail for just three weeks when he was caught.
'We located the body of Charish Perriwinkle,' Officer Shannon Hartley said holding back tears. 'It's A very difficult time, obviously, for everyone involved.'
'Hug your children closely right now and know where they're at,' Officer Hartley said. 'Keep them close.'
Shopping trip : Charish was with her mother and two siblings at this WalMart store in Jacksonville when Donald Smith befriended her and asked if she wanted to walk with him to McDonalds
Donald Smith : He had been in and out of jail for more than 20 years and had to register as a sex offender in 1992. He was released from jail just three weeks ago
Detectives say that within 30 minutes of Charish's mom realising she had left the store with the man, police were called.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a statewide Amber Alert.
Overnight, cops received a lead that took them to the church where the body was found.
Getaway vehicle : Smith was reportedly driving a 1998 white Dodge van
Found : Charish Lilly Perriwinkle's body was found early this morning at Highlands Church in Jacksonville, Florida
Living with mom : Donald Smith lived with his mother on Segovia Avenue in Jacksonville since his release from jail on 31st May
Smith had been a registered sex offender since 1992 and had only been released from jail three weeks ago after being held on charges of intentional child abuse and impersonating a public employee.
Smith also served prison time for attempted kidnapping and lewd and lascivious assault on children.
The first time he attempted to lure a 13-year-old girl into his van and chased her as she ran away.
The second time involved Smith trying to lure two girls into his van with pornographic magazines.
After his release, neighbors said Smith lived with his mother in her home.
This is just heartbreaking and could so easily have been avoided if this 'thing' had not been given 'it's' liberty - My thoughts, prayers and tears are with you Charish, your loved ones, family and friends ... God bless you all, always - Fx