DCF speaks about Cherish Perrywinkle's family
New documents of history released
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Department of Children and Families has released documents showing the history of their involvement with Cherish Perrywinkle's family before the 8-year-old was killed.
Police said the little girl was kidnapped, raped and killed by sex offender Donald Smith last month on Jacksonville's Northside.
Since then, sources have confirmed Cherish's half-sisters were taken away from their mother, Rayne, after a DCF investigation.
There were five different investigations released to Channel 4, all involving the allegations of abuse or neglect in the Perrywinkle home, but DCF officials said there was never enough evidence that Cherish or her siblings were in enough danger for them to be removed from their parents.
"April 29, 2006 -- mother accused of shaking Cherish forcefully because she was crying. We investigated and found no indicators of physical injury," said John Harrell, DCF spokesperson.
Harrell went over some of the things Cherish Perrywinkle's mom, Rayne, has been accused of. According to recently released reports, in 2006 Rayne "did not pick up Cherish" after daycare.
In 2009, DCF investigated after Cherish's father, Billy Jerreau, was accused of spanking the girl and leaving a mark. He has since been accused of other crimes, including molesting a child that wasn't his.
In 2009, Cherish's mom accused someone of molesting Cherish, but the report doesn't say who.
And in 2012, investigators looked into allegations that Rayne and her boyfriend had an argument, one where the mother was left bruised.
But John Harrell said all of these claims are just allegations, and DCF never found enough for the kids to be taken away.
"There had been prior times where DCF had been called to the home, where we had investigated reports of abuse or neglect," Harrell said. "There were never cases where there was evidence strong enough to take Cherish into protective custody. We could not find enough evidence that she was in danger due to serious abuse or neglect, and that's the key criteria that we look at."
Sources said that after Cherish was killed, Rayne Perrywinkle's two other children were taken away for the time being. Harrell said he can't speak about anything involved with that case because of confidentiality laws. However, he did say DCF had been working with the family previously, and referred them to places that could help.
"There had been extensive involvement over the years with services, to help the mother, to help the family," said Harrell. "We're talking about counseling, therapy that had been going on over the course of several years."
Channel 4 asked Rayne Perrywinkle if she wanted to comment about the newly released reports, but she didn't want to, except to say that the allegations of shaking Cherish when she was younger were completely untrue.
DCF normally doesn't release documents of open investigations, but after a child passes away, they are allowed to give out more information. DCF said they looked over everything closely to make sure the information they were releasing was legal and appropriate.
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