Contact Us
  • Comment

Rayne Perrywinkle breaks silence for first time since September on custody case regarding surviving kids

Posted: July 15, 2014 - 9:15pm  |  Updated: July 16, 2014 - 8:07am
In this Feb. 20, 2014 file photo, Rayne Perrywinkle, left, dabs at tears during the “Together We Can” fund-raising breakfast for the Justice Coalition. Pictured with her is coalition victims' advocate Lysa Telzer.

Cherish Lily Perrywinkle: A life cut far too short Cherish Perrywinkle: A visual look at story coverage


  • Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Timeline of Events regarding the Cherish Perrywinkle case

  • Watch: Video shows capture of Cherish Perrywinkle abduction suspect by Jacksonville police

  • The death of Cherish Perrywinkle
  • Cherish Lily Perrywinkle Prayer Service
  • The life and death of Cherish Lily Perrywinkle


    A look at the events surrounding the abduction and death of Cherish Perrywinkle (Times are approximate).

    Friday morning: Police make contact with Donald James Smith at the San Jose neighborhood home where he is a registered sexual offender.

    7 p.m. Friday (Dollar General): Jacksonville police say Cherish Perriwinkle’s mother met Donald James Smith, 56, at Dollar General.

    11 p.m. Friday (Walmart Supercenter): Cherish’s mother reports the 8-year-old girl missing to police. Authorities say the mother and Donald James Smith went to Walmart after Smith offered to buy the family some clothes.

    9 a.m. Saturday (I-95/I-10): Police pull over and surround Donald James Smith’s white 1998 Dodge van on I-95 South near the I-10 split.

    10 a.m. Saturday (Highlands Baptist Church): The body of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle is found near the church.

    Source: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

  • 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

    Comments (5)

    ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
    timkjagsfan 07/16/14 - 09:30 am
    Premium Member
    Max Mutt - I agree...There's

    Max Mutt - I agree...There's a HUGE difference between having children and raising them. We are seeing this more and more in our society. People with the capability to breed, but either seemingly inadequate or worse, just plain irresponsible in the most important aspect, and that is raising the child. It seems they want babies, but somehow fail to acknowledge that that little person is now theirs for a lifetime involves training, caring and being RESPONSIBLE for.

    GrumpierOldMan 07/16/14 - 07:50 am
    Premium Member
    "“They are my children. I

    "“They are my children. I gave birth to them. I have raised them from day one,” she said."

    Sounds like she views these young humans as her very own, private cash cows.

    These kids indeed need loving, caring, and competent adoptive parents.

    hoots55 07/16/14 - 06:44 am
    Premium Member
    Of course this is just my

    Of course this is just my opinion, but this woman wants these precious girls back so she can receive the government assistance she obviously had before Cherish was killed. She proved she was unfit the moment she put those girls in Smith's van. Actually before that as she was out late at night with these kids.
    Rayne is trying to be the victim in this. “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. Yes Rayne, many have assumed you are an unfit mother~which you have proven to be~in the best interest of these girls an adoption by a family that will provide a safe and stable environment should be YOUR priority as well. But you will not admit that you failed Cherish. You "are working" on getting the help and a suitable home for them. How long do you need if they indeed are a priority in you life.
    Give it up Rayne, you will not life your self up to provide for them. Neither will their father.

    finder 07/16/14 - 05:44 am
    Premium Member
    Why has this dragged on for

    Why has this dragged on for so long? Take her out of the picture by putting her in jail where she belongs and adopt out those girls.

    Max mutt
    Max mutt 07/16/14 - 12:39 am
    "I have raised them from day

    "I have raised them from day 1."

    Also rented them out to any stranger with an open wallet.

    1 of 3 dead and the other 2 must feel pretty safe, I guess.

    Back to Top

    Sign up for's morning newsletter and get top stories each morning in your inbox.