Rayne Perrywinkle hasn’t made a public statement since late September when the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced it disciplined a homicide detective and lieutenant for missteps in the abduction investigation of her 8-year-old daughter Cherish Lily Perrywinkle.
But she responded Tuesday afternoon to statements made by someone she considered a friend who is now publicly advocating adoption of her two remaining children. The state removed 6-year-old Destiny and 5-year-old Nevaeh from Perrywinkle and their father Aharon Pearson July 9, 2013, weeks after the death of Cherish.
“Regardless what I say, people will have their own assumptions about me anyway, but I choose to talk right now because I realize there are so many people trying to take Destiny and Nevaeh away from me and adopt them out,” Perrywinkle said.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families used licensed social worker Amy Decker’s home as a stop-gap for the Perrywinkle children while the department searched for a more permanent situation, Decker has said.
Perrywinkle said the Deckers’ home wasn’t used as a stop-gap by Children and Families. She said the children were invited there but that Decker wouldn’t allow her to take her children back to her home.
“Amy took Destiny and Nevaeh to her house before DCF was contacted,” she said. “I left after three days because Amy wouldn’t allow me to show any emotion [during the grieving process].”
Decker helps manage a Facebook page titled Team Destiny and Nevaeh that is advocating adoption of the two girls.
Perrywinkle said Decker was her counselor and her friend, but she feels betrayed. She said she feels disgusted about a front page news story in which Decker said that said the kids’ parents haven’t done what they need to do to regain their children.
“I have provided no clinical services to Rayne and this had been six years since I had any contact with Rayne or her children,” Decker said. “I reached out in a genuine attempt to offer help to her and her children.”
Perrywinkle declined any further attempts to discuss the dependency case or go into further detail about what Decker was incorrect about in the news article.
“Certain things I want to keep private, and it’s really difficult because everyone wants to know what’s going on,” she said. “... This is my family. I am a real person. It’s not just a story on the news tonight.”
Perrywinkle said she did lose visitation rights, but those have been restored. She sees her daughters every Monday for two hours during a supervised visit.
She said her girls are healthy and she looks forward to them living with her again. She said she will never voluntarily terminate her parental rights.
“They are my children. I gave birth to them. I have raised them from day one,” she said.
Derek Gilliam: (904) 359-4619