ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
53°
Mostly Sunny
H 68° L 49°
  • clear-night
    53°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Sunny. H 68° L 49°
  • clear-day
    70°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Sunny. H 68° L 49°
  • cloudy-day
    65°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 73° L 54°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Suspect in Cherish Perrywinkle murder has long criminal history
Close

Suspect in Cherish Perrywinkle murder has long criminal history

Suspect in Cherish Perrywinkle murder has long criminal history
Photo Credit: Jacksonville Sherrif's Office
Donald James Smith was apprehended by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Saturday morning and is being questioned in his connection to the kidnapping of Cherish Perriwinkle.

Suspect in Cherish Perrywinkle murder has long criminal history

The man arrested for the abduction and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle is a known sex offender and has tried to lure children before.

Our partner Action News reports Donald J. Smith tried to lure a young girl away from her mother in 2009. Smith, posing as a DCF worker, called a local mom saying he needed to speak with her child. The mother got suspicious and called police.  Smith was arrested.

Last year he pleaded guilty to attempted impersonation of a public employee and attempted child abuse by mental harm.  He was sentenced to one year for each count, but with time served, he was out of jail within a year.  Smith was released from jail on May 31 of this year.  He was out for just 21 days before Cherish was found dead.

The mother in the 2009 case told Action News today she is heartbroken and terrified, saying this could've been her daughter four years ago. Stephanie Boggs wonders why Smith was out of prison at all.

Smith's criminal past with children goes back decades.

Records show he was convicted in 1977 for lewd and lascivious behavior on a child under 16.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in 1993 for attempted kidnapping of a minor. He tried to lure three little girls into a van filled with pornography. When he was released, Smith had to register as a sex offender.

Police told Action News that Smith was not on probation during the time of Cherish's disappearance, but he was on JSO's radar while he lived at his registered address on Segovia Avenue.  Around 1 p.m., a woman at that home, believed to be Smith's mother, was led away by police.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Phoenix teenager Jamal Hinton and grandmother Wanda Hence have turned their internet fame from 2016 into a tradition. >> Read more trending news Last year, Hence thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to dinner in a group text, but she was actually texting Jamal Hinton, 17. Hinton asked who was texting him and was told it was his grandmother. “I really thought it was my grandma, so I had to ask for a picture to make sure,” Hinton told BuzzFeed. The result was a selfie exchange from Hence to which Hinton replied, 'You're not my grandma!' But Hinton asked if he could still get a plate of food despite the mistake. Hence replied, “Of course you can. That's what grandmas do ... feed everyone.' KNXV reported that Hinton joined Hence’s family for dinner and is now her 'honorary grandson.' When Hinton arrived and shook Hence’s hand, the two soon embraced for a hug. 'I'd never seen her before and she welcomed me into her home,' Hinton told KNXV. 'That shows me how great of a person she is. I'm thankful for people like that.' 'He always has an open invite to our house for Thanksgiving,' Hence told WVEC Friday.   
  • Heads up, St. Johns County residents. The county says the St. Augustine Beach Pope Road beach access point will be closed beginning, Monday, November 27th, due to an Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment project.  That project is expected to last through spring 2018, with the Pope Road beach access point remaining closed that entire time.  The county say the renourishment will help critically-eroded areas between Anastasia State Park and 8th Street in St. Augustine Beach.  The beach will remain open outside of work areas, but you're urged to use caution in the area.  For more information, click HERE.
  • It's a tragic update in the days-long search to find a missing 15-year-old and his grandmother.  The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announcing Friday afternoon they do believe foul play was involved, as they've recovered what they believe to be the body of 53-year-old Kristina French in the backyard of a Neptune Beach home connected to the two.  'The burial site was excavated today and human remains were located. They appear consistent with the description of Kristina French, but there will be no positive identification until the autopsy is completed by the medical examiner,' says JSO's Director of Investigations, Ron Lendvay.  At this point, JSO says 15-year-old Logan Mott is still missing, as is the silver Dodge Dart. Police say they do believe Mott is alive and in that vehicle.  'We have video surveillance of an individual we believe to be Logan Mott, with what we believe to be the car that's missing in this case, in south central Pennsylvania yesterday at 1:15 pm,' says Lendvay.  JSO says they're in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant for Mott for auto theft. He's also considered a person of interest in connection to the death of the person found in the backyard of the home on Seagate Avenue.  Police say Mott may also be in possession of firearms, as guns had been reported missing from that home, so if you do see him, you’re urged to call 911.
  • UPDATE Friday morning:  Logan Mott’s mother has posted a heartfelt message on Facebook, pleading for a safe return of her 15-year-old son and his grandmother, Kristina French.  UPDATE 11/23/17 5:40 PM: The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says there’s no new information to release. ORIGINAL STORY: A missing child alert has been issued for 15-year-old Logan Mott out of Neptune Beach.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Jacksonville Police believe Logan is in the company of his grandmother, 53-year-old Kristina French.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says firearms are missing from a home they are associated with. Our partners at Action News Jax spoke with Logan’s mother who says the home that had the firearms looked like it had been ransacked.  The two are believed to traveling in a 2015 silver Dodge Dart with Florida tag D-L-L-T-4-2.  JSO says with the firearms missing, you should not approach them if you see them. You are asked to call 911. This is a developing story, check back for more updates. 
  • They believe he was hit by a car Thanksgiving night and left to die. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a man's body was found in a ditch along Bowden Road on the Southside, early Friday morning.  At this time, JSO hasn't released his identity, but they say the man was in his 40's.  Police say they don't know of any witnesses. There's also no suspect information at this point.

The Latest News Videos