Every time I see stories like this I have to sit and wonder what is wrong with people these days! This all started at a local dollar store when Donald James Smith met eight year old Charish Perriwinkle and her mother at a local dollar store. He then decided that he was going to lend a helping hand and offer to buy their family some clothes at the Wal-Mart close by. Charish and her mother got into Smith’s van and he took them shopping.While shopping in the local Wal-Mart, Smith offered to buy lunch for Charish and her mother. Instead of taking Charish to get the food, he took her out to his van and left with her. After realizing that Charish and Smith were missing, her mother called 9-1-1 and an Amber Alert was issued for the missing girl. Along with the Amber Alert, a picture of Smith and his van were released to the media.
Saturday morning police received a tip about a suspicious van seen in the woods near a local church, unfortunately this tip did not lead to the little girl being found alive. They found the body of eight year old Charish in the woods behind the church.
Around the same time of this discovery, a state trooper at the scene of an accident on I-95 recognized the van as it drove past her and she called it in. While he was being pulled over and arrested a small portion of the highway was shut down, aside from this, there has not been many details released.
We do not know what exactly happened to Charish in the hours that Smith had her and we do not know how she died. We do know that Smith has a history of sick and twisted behavior, most recently an arrest in 2009 for calling and threatening a 10 year old girl over the phone while impersonating a Florida Department of Children and Families social worker. He was charged and served time in prison for this and was released on May 31st,
We also know that he has been registered as a sex offender since 1993 when he was convicted of attempted kidnapping and selling obscene materials. He has been arrested numerous times in between the two cases.
My thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the family and friends of Charish Perriwinkle. I will keep you posted on any further developments.