Jacksonville, FL - We’re getting a clearer picture of the night 8-year-oldf Cherish Perrywinkle was abducted from a Northside Walmart and strangled to death.
WOKV is working through hundreds of pages of documents and photographs released today as part of the State Attorney’s Office discovery in their case again Donald Smith.
New information we’ve learned so far includes that police have spoken with several people who place Smith in the parking lot of the Walmart when Perrywinkle was taken. Those witnesses also say they heard Smith say “We’re going to get cheeseburgers!” while in the parking lot. Cherish’s mother told police that Smith was supposed to be getting food for Cherish and her two siblings at the front of the Walmart, when instead he just kept walking with Cherish following.
While Smith invoked his right to remain silent, a detective quoted in the discovery says before he invoked that right, Smith wouldn’t speak about Cherish at all but admitted to having been using drugs all night with prostitutes. Police also found him wet and muddy, covered in pieces of vegetation they say is similar to where Cherish’s body was found in water behind a Northside church. Smith told ivnestigators he got sweaty when he did drugs. Also found at that location was a Walmart bag that detectives believe hadn’t been there very long.
After continued questioning, and Smith continuously denying any knowledge of the victim, police told him there was a video of the two of them together. At that point, according to the documents, Smith said the victim has gotten in to his van but had jumped out at a red light and run away.
Police spoke with Smith’s mother at the home they shared, and she told investigators her son is “addicted to crack cocaine” and that she had even gone with him to clear a $150 debt with a drug dealer. She says on the night in question he told her he was going to an AA meeting in San Marco but never returned- which was common.
The FDLE examined several DNA samples taken from Smith and Perrywinkle. Their tests found DNA from Cherish present in fingernail clippings taken from Smith. Smith’s DNA was also located on several parts of Cherish’s body, according to the FDLE.
Smith, a convicted sex offender, has been indicted for kidnapping, murder and sexual battery. He has yet to stand trial. Smith has pled “not guilty”.