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Perrywinkle case leads to JSO internal investigation

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Updated: 6/25/2013 7:47 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- About nine hours passed from the time Cherish Perrywinkle was reported missing from the Walmart on Lem Turner Road until the time registered sex offender Donald Smith was in custody.

Sheriff John Rutherford said that was the result of good police work.  "There was some phenomenal police work in this case. Think about identifying an unknown suspect within a couple of hours. There was some brilliant work done in this case," he said.

But after reviewing a timeline of events, the sheriff says JSO did drop the ball in one area, and that's when it came to notifying you about what happened.

[Special coverage: JSO releases timeline of search for Cherish]

He said, "They didn't do proper notification of the PIO, and they didn't do proper notification of staff up their chain of command."

The PIO is the public information officer, who alerts the media when bad things happen, so we can get that information out to the public quickly.

In this case, the media was not told right away there was a possible abduction and that investigators suspected foul play from the get-go.

Rutherford said, "This isn't a policy problem, this is a performance problem.  Somebody didn't follow protocol."

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did issue an Amber Alert for Cherish early Saturday morning.  Rutherford says that alert takes time.  "On Amber Alerts, you can't put out what you suspect.  You have to put out what you know."

But he says JSO could have been a little more pro-active in getting Cherish's information out there.

Would it have made a difference?  Maybe not.  But it might the next time a tragedy like this occurs.

[Special coverage: Remembering Cherish]
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

angels072258 - 6/26/2013 9:09 AM
1 Vote
He is in protective custody so he can be protected. Who protected Cherish?

LeRoy - 6/26/2013 6:30 AM
0 Votes
We reported a child sexual predator that lied and said he was a vagrant living in the woods when he IS living with his new girlfriend and her CHILDREN in a trailer park off 103rd and that was THREE WEEKS AGO!!!! This pervert is a slick liar but seriously, HOW CAN HE GET AWAY WITH THIS??? He served 10 years for a crime against children under the age of 16 and now has potential VICTIMS (YES PLURAL) handy under the same roof he SLEEPS under.

imtellin - 6/26/2013 3:00 AM
1 Vote
let's demand the legislature change the release & observation procedures on these animals, & hopefully rutherford, there won't be a next time !! wishful thinking, for so long as you have parents who let strangers near their children, then these tragedies will occur..old men should be interested in old ladies, not little girls !!

LUBINND - 6/25/2013 9:07 PM
0 Votes
wondering how the time of death plays into this...all cases are different, because each perp is different.....Here's my reasoning for the time of death...not that it makes a difference. Now, that our community has lost another precious young child to a monster. But was the timing of death compared to the public announcement to his capture.... heading south on I95, the church and what time was a suspicous van spooted there....did he see the amber aleet and panic or did he kill her way before that....just thinking....well, doesn't change anything he is still a monster and if it wasn't Cherish, he'd a found someone else child...esp, since he traveled from southside to northside ,to do what he did...maybe people in this area of southside are aware of him...but no one in northside would be...or the beaches or westside....for that matter...but 'A BIG FAT TATTOO "O/P" IN BETWEEN HIS EYEBROWS " would of let everyone know....
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