8-Year-Old Girl Found Dead After Mother Lets New 'Friend' Take Her for Snack

An 8-year-old missing girl has been found murdered after she was abducted from a Walmart by a known sex offender who had only been out of prison for three weeks. Horrible enough. Tragic enough. But what makes this story particularly strange is that little Cherish Perrywinkle wasn't exactly "abducted." She had reportedly been given over to suspect Donald Smith willingly by her mother -- who had become friends with Smith in a Walmart and apparently let her little girl go with the man alone to another part of the store.

Reports say that 56-year-old Smith, a longtime sex offender who had only been out of prison for three weeks, befriended Cherish and her family -- her mom and three sisters -- in a Jacksonville, Florida Walmart. He then talked Cherish's mom into allowing him to take Cherish to the front of the store, where a McDonalds was located, for a snack. The two then disappeared.

Less than an hour later, she was reportedly dead. Her body was found near a local church.

Normally when I hear about tragedies involving children that could have been avoided with more vigilance, responsibility and common sense, I try not to judge.

BUT WHAT THE HELL?! Why would mom let her child go anywhere with a man she had just met?

If reports are correct, the mother was alone with four kids. Did she get overwhelmed and welcomed the idea of someone taking care of her child for awhile? Was Donald Smith particularly unthreatening-looking and persuasive? Was the mom having a really rough day and just had a momentary lack of judgment?

News reports can get things wrong, so perhaps there was something different that went on here.

No doubt this mother will be punished enough with guilt and heartbreak. In our moment of outrage over this possible lack of common sense, let's remember that it's the adult man who allegedly perpetrated this horrific crime. It is difficult to go around trusting no one. We do sometimes feel we're being silly and paranoid when someone new tries to be nice to us and we're suspicious of it. I'm trying to understand this. But I just don't.

What do you think happened here?

Editor's Note: Cherish's name has been corrected from its original misspelling.

Image via Amber Alert

crime, death, child abuse, in the news

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twili... twilightsbella

Wtf is wrong with that mother? Is she stupid? Her child could be alive right now if she would have some damn commen sense to not let some stranger take her kid. And that sick bastard should of been kept in prison. What a beautiful little girl.

cmjaz cmjaz

Why the hell do we ever let child rapists out of jail....ever???

Craft... CraftyJenna

This is why I think child rapists need the death penalty. 

nonmember avatar MrsClark

I have 3 children. Sometimes in the store, I get overwhelmed. Does that mean I let some random stranger take one of my kids off my hands for a few minutes? Heck no! I'm resposiblw for keeping them safe. Some things u can prevent like scraped knees or falling off a bike and getting hurt. Letting my child walk off with a perfect stranger, I can totally prevent that.

Kathy Bonds

this mother should have never let her child go off with a person she just met-you can never be too careful when it comes to your kids. Rapists and child molestors should be imprisoned for life.

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

I'm sorry for saying something seemingly rude, but what. the. HELL?! What a stupid, stupid decision on that mother's part. I know she will have to live with the responsibility of her child's death but really?? I would never, ever, ever, EVER let any of my children go off with someone I didn't know at all (I'm sorry but you don't know someone after talking to them for a few minutes, you only know what they said). I won't even let someone watch my kids unless they have had several trial runs with me present. I'm in no way a helicopter mom but with all the sickos out there I would rather be over protective then have my child raped or murdered.

nonmember avatar Theresa

This is just an outrage. I have a 21 child and I still get nervous when she doesn't respond to my text/phone calls right away. I don't care if the mother had 4 other children with her, and was "overwhelmed", shouldn't have had so many in the first place if you can care for them

Missy Mmistaken Mmisunderstood

Twightsbella, I totally agree with and all other comments, he should not have been let out and what the hell was this mom thinking? Oh yeah...she wasn't, and yes she will have to live with it , how is she going to be trusted not to do this kind of thing with her other children???

miche... micheledo

Oh my. Just read one of the links. I still would not leave my child with someone I just met. But this man befriended her in Dollar General and apparently they had financial needs. He offered.t obut them things they needed at Wal-mart. So here was a 'good samaritan' paying for probably needed items for the family, probably offered to take the gir lfor ice cream while mom finished up.



I still wouldn't have trusted someone alone with my child ,but he sure went way out of his way to do everthing to ensure mom trusted him. So heartbreaking. :(

nonmember avatar blue

Her other children should be taken away forever. She has proved she can't be trusted with them, and now one is dead. Not only the man who did this should be punished to the harshest extent, but the MOM should also suffer the rest of her life for this. Alone. Without her children.

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