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Local mother speaks out about close call with Donald Smith

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Updated: 6/24/2013 11:37 am
BAKER COUNTY, Fla. -- When Stephanie Thornton heard Donald Smith's name mentioned in connection with the kidnapping of Cherish Perrywinkle, 8, she was outraged.
As far as she knew Smith was still in jail for attempting to kidnap her daughter, Christina, in 2009.
"It's hard knowing it could've happened to my daughter and that these parents have to go through this with their daughter," said Stephanie Thornton, mother.

According to Thornton, Smith pretended to be an employee with the Department of Children and Families when he called her claiming someone had raped her daughter and asked to speak with her.
"He contacted her grandmother and told her that she needed to meet him at McDonald's to pick her up to take her to be checked," said Thornton.
Thornton alerted police and Smith was eventually arrested. She does not understand why he was free to begin with.
"Now it's happened to somebody else's child it's not fair he should've been locked up," said Thornton.
A now 13 year-old Christina is still shaken up after learning Smith's latest victim has died. Thornton says after the incident they moved out of Jacksonville to a remote area of Baker County hoping to move on.
She now hopes something will be done to prevent this from happening again.
"He needs to be electrocuted he should never be able to get back out, never," said Thornton.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating why Smith's former victims were not told he was released from jail.
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Theriteway23 - 7/2/2013 6:15 PM
0 Votes
Where is the responsibility of the Mother's actions coming into play? She should be charged with neglect! The mother let her child fall into this saddening fate and not one word of her responsibility is being said. It is our job as parents to protect our children. Did no one have the talk with her about strangers? The mother killed her child! If she would have walked away Cherish would still be alive! Laws need to change for offenders also! This ,an should have been in jail and stayed there for life!

Alyssa0411 - 6/24/2013 12:56 PM
1 Vote
How many times does a violent and dangerous sex offender get to be allowed to walk the streets? Why would a mother, who doesn't know this man at all, allow her daughter to go off with him and out of her sight? Big shocker he took her out to his rape-mobile. There are some dense people in Florida. This poor child didn't stand a chance.

countrygirlco - 6/24/2013 12:07 PM
1 Vote
Hold up TheLocs904 I am personally involved in that case, and it was not us that dropped those charges down at all. Once again, you finger pointers go by what is put out there, I personally asked the D.A. what this man had to do to never get out again. So now I guess we know. Once again, if you people dont know all the facts, dont slam these people. YOU WERE NOT THERE.SMH, you are any of you to judge anyone, Unless you have lived through anything like this,its probably best to keep those crude comments to your self.The system is the one that has the problems. The system is the one letting our kids down. This man is an habitual offender, take you some time and go dig up the court records instead of believing what is on the internet. They should have notified them he was going to be released, Did they, NO they did NOT.

TheLocs904 - 6/24/2013 5:31 AM
0 Votes

TheLocs904 - 6/24/2013 5:29 AM
0 Votes
But she & her daughter's grandma took their behinds to court & agreed to drop/lesson those horrendous charges down to misdemeanors, which is why he only did a year & some change in jail. This is after he was somehow stalking the little girl over the phone while impersonating DCF, making sexual comments & threats, & trying to set up a kidnapping... ~_~ Oh.

nativejax - 6/23/2013 4:51 PM
1 Vote
This is absolutely horrendous. Even if THIS mom(or any mom) was slack at her parenting when her daughter followed this monster to McDonalds within the Walmart...We SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO TELL OUR CHILDREN DAILY THERE ARE MONSTERS OUT HERE THAT WILL TORTURE AND KILL THEM. The system is still failing our children, why? Because of prison overcrowding? What a sorry excuse, to say our children's life's are LESS important than a habitual drug user who spends decades behind bars. These murderous monsters cannot stop preying on innocent children, the laws are failing them. God is still watching and WAITING for our legal system to WAKE UP.
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