A 74-page Internal Affairs report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reveals mistake after mistake in the investigation of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle the night she disappeared.
Investigators say Cherish was raped and killed by a man who befriended her mom at a Walmart on Lem Turner Road on the Northside. That man, Donald Smith, is a registered sex offender and is currently in jail awaiting trial.
According to the report, 911 dispatchers had doubts when Cherish's mom, Rayne Perrywinkle, called them the night of June 21.
The report says Rayne said things that seemed irrational for a mother whose child had actually been kidnapped. Dispatchers made a judgement call at that point that slowed down the entire investigation.
"Throughout the conversation, the victim's mother told (911 dispatcher P.L.) Robinson that she feared the suspect was going to rape and kill her daughter," the report says.
But that statement was never included in the information Robinson gave to officers in the field. Robinson admitted in the investigation "she wished she had included the statements the victim's mother made regarding her daughter being taken, and the fear that her daughter might have been raped."
Robinson went on to say, "I thought she was lying. It didn't seem like, um, like it was real."
What's more is, a new JSO policy issued the day before the kidnapping may have also slowed down this search for a kidnapped girl.
Robinson designated the 911 call as a Signal 8, a missing person case, instead of the more serious Signal 30, a kidnapping case.
A kidnapping case, would have required officers to automatically contact the media.
Notifying the media, would have allowed local outlets to alert the public through the TV, Internet and social media to be on the lookout for Cherish, Smith and Smith's van.
The internal report stated: "Robinson's lack of attention to detail and her personal opinions of the mother's truthfulness directly resulted in 1) the incorrect dispatch signal applied to this incident and 2) the lack of accurate information being forwarded to everyone involved."
Failure to alert the media continued throughout the night.
Generic emails were sent to the media but never informed outlets there was a search for a missing child. That was likely because of a new memo released by JSO the day before.
Among other things, it says, "Communications Center personnel are prohibited from commenting to the media ... unless requested by ranking incident commander."
Emergency Communications Officer Sgt. D.A. Williams said she did not provide more information to the media because of that memo, saying: "Williams explained that she ensured the broadcasts were sent in the new format because she had been disciplined in the past for sending too much information."
Dispatcher Robinson was disciplined for her mistakes made taking that call.
Meanwhile, JSO detectives had a hard time believing Cherish's mom's story. Some of that was understandable. The report says she claimed to be a psychic and never cried tears the night her daughter was kidnapped.
Still, the report found officers' feelings about the truthfulness about her story may have also slowed down this search for Cherish.