DCF releases Perrywinkle investigations

5 visits over 7 years: child-protection investigators never found kids in danger


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida child welfare investigators were called five times to the home where Cherish Perrywinkle lived before the 8-year-old was abducted and killed in June.

According to Department of Children and Families documents released late Monday, authorities went to the Perrywinkle home five times between January 2005 and May 2012, but never found sufficient grounds to take Cherish or Rayne Perrywinkle's other children from her custody.

The first investigation, when Cherish was 2 years old, involved her mother repeatedly being several hours late to pick her daughter up from day care.  The investigator noted that Rayne Perrywinkle had two previous arrests in 2003, but nothing related to child abuse.

Four months later, DCF investigators returned when Rayne Perrywinkle was accused of shaking Cherish forcefully because she was crying. The girl did not require medical attention, and the report indicates Cherish's behaviors were normal for her age and placement outside the home was not recommended.

Rayne told Channel 4 in a phone interview Monday evening that the claim that she shook Cherish was "all lies."

The next time child welfare investigators were called to the Perrywinkle home was in February 2009 when they received a complaint that Cherish's father spanked her with his hand hard enough to leave a hand print and cause the then-4-year-old to wet her pants.

DCF was told the father, Billy Jarreau, had a history of yelling at cherish and was accused previously of sexually molesting another child. The child-protection investigator wrote there was no evidence to support a physical injury of Cherish and she displayed no signs indicating abuse or neglect.

"There are no concerns of child safety. ... The father's criminal record does cause some concerns, however, the act did not involve a child," the investigator wrote in a report recommending closing the case "with some findings."

Later in 2009, DCF returned the day Rayne Perrywinkle gave birth to another daughter. The investigator was told the mother had tried to commit suicide in January by taking an overdose of Benadryl. She was Baker-acted after the incident and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The report notes the mother is prescribed medication but refuses to take it.

The report notes that Perrywinkle broke a plate over the head of someone whose name was redacted. She also accuses the person of sexually molesting Cherish, of which no evidence was presented.

The investigator noted that the Cherish's mother and her biological father did not get along and were in a custody dispute. 

"Overall, the risk is moderate for all of the children," the report states. "CPI believes this family might greatly benefit from the mother having a psycho social assessment and intensive services as soon as possible."

Again, the case is "closed with some findings of threatened harm an no findings for the inadequate supervision."

The last DCF investigation prior to Cherish's abduction from a Walmart on June began on May 15, 2012, when Rayne Perrywinkle's boyfriend, Aaron Pearson, grabbed the woman's arm during an argument hard enough to cause a bruise.

The child protection team found no household hazards and the mother was described as having reasonable expectations of the children and their immediate needs of food and shelter were being met.

"The parent's background does not impose an immediate threat to the children. There are no other signs of present danger. Based on these facts the implication for child safety is low," according to the report.

Rayne Perrywinkle was referred to Hubband House -- the shelter for victims of domestic abuse -- but had declined their services. She did receive counseling through Healthy Families.

Earlier this month, DCF removed Reyne Perrywinkle's two younger daughters from her care. The agency has not released details of that investigation, but spokesman John Harrell said they were "ensuring the safety of the children."

Channel 4 is continuing to review these DCF reports and is talking to people familiar with child protection investigations to give more context to this story. Check back later for more details and watch The Ten O'Clock News for a complete report.