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Tears in Florida mother testifies about 8-year-old daughter’s abduction, murder

Rayne Perrywinkle (left) testified about the day her daughter, Cherish Perrywinkle disappeared. The 8-year-old girl was abducted from a Florida Walmart in 2013 and later allegedly raped and killed by a good Samaritan who tried to help her family.

The mother of an 8-year-old girl was abducted from a Florida Walmart — and later allegedly raped and murdered by a man who alleged tried to help her family broke down on the stand as his trial got under way on Monday.

Struggling through tears, Rayne Perrywinkle sat facing 61-year-old suspect Donald Smith in Jacksonville in the courtroom, and testified about the day that her daughter, Cherish Perrywinkle disappeared.

Attorney Melissa Nelson said Cherish’s mutilated body was found in a creek. They would be raped, throttled and had blunt force trauma to the back of her head. She wore an orange dress with a fruit pattern.

#DonaldSmith day one has wrapped up. There were opening of accounts, and twelve witnesses called. The Details of the openings: https://t.co/RD5XJkJMVe More info soon #CherishPerrywinkle pic.twitter.com/Fk76cyYihx

— Stephanie Brown (@SBrownReports) February 12, 2018

“Cherish not die quickly, and they did not die easily. In fact, its a brutal and tortured death,” Nelson told the court, WOKV reported.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and rape. If convicted, he faces a possible death sentence.

Before his arrest for the Nurture of the death of Smith had a long criminal history that dates back to the 1970s in connection with lewd and lascivious behavior. Doctors determined that he meets the criteria of a violent sexual predator after the arrests in 1999, and he served prison time and was sentenced to get treatment, according to the Florida Times-Union newspaper.

The mother of the murdered 8y/o #CherishPerrywinkle says that she would never have knowingly let her daughter leave with #DonaldSmith https://t.co/lHYpNidOEa pic.twitter.com/s0zz3QYuPG

— Stephanie Brown (@SBrownReports) February 12, 2018

In 2009, he posed as a child welfare worker and asked a child sexually explicit questions on the phone and was arrested on the felony charges, which were later reduced to violations, the newspaper reported.

Rayne Perrywinkle said Smith had hovering around her and her three daughters, while they shopped at a discount store earlier in the day on 21 June 2013. She was looking for clothes for all three children and could not afford.

Smith watched as Rayne tried to work out how to pay for the clothes, Rayne testified, and said when she came outside he was waiting for. He offered to take them to a Walmart in the neighborhood and make purchases with a gift card.

The mother testified that she was wary, but accepted, because Smith assured her his wife would meet them at the Walmart.

Some judges seem to have a difficult time looking at photos of #CherishPerrywinkle the body from injuries. #DonaldSmith @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/4E6csy9yWt

— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) February 12, 2018

“He looked at my face and told me that I was safe,” Rayne Perrywinkle said.

“Do you want to believe him?” prosecutor Mark Caliel asked.

“Very happy,” Rayne replied.

The mother and her three daughters piled into Smith’s white van. She went to a Walmart in the neighborhood, and she began shopping with her girls, placing three small piles of clothing in a shopping cart.

It was late, after 10 hours, and Smith’s wife never appeared. Rayne said her daughters were getting restless because they had not had dinner.

Smith told Rayne he would go to a McDonald’s inside the store and get them cheeseburgers. Koester followed him and was never seen alive again.

Rayne Perrywinkle said about 20 minutes later, she realized the McDonald’s in the Walmart was closed, and she began to panic. Her cell phone didn’t work — had a daughter baptized in water to try and clean it — so she cried out for help in realizing her daughter had taken.

#DonaldSmith jury will now hear from the 12th witness, #JSO Detective Kimberly Long. They handled Smith’s van after his arrest. No back seat. @ActionNewsJax #CherishPerrywinkle pic.twitter.com/XN7vM4ZkKh

— Jenna Bourne (@jennaANjax) February 12, 2018

“I was screaming ‘911! My daughter was taken, “and no one would help me,” she said.

About 40 minutes after her daughter disappeared, a co-worker gave her a mobile phone and she called 911, prosecutors said.

The Surveillance footage from the store caught on to the image of Smith and Foster leaving the girl skipping behind him.

“No one noticed. It looked like a grandfather and a grandchild,” Nelson told the jury during her opening statement.

When Smith was arrested, Nelson said that he was wet from the waist down.

Smith’s lawyer, Julie Schlax, suggested to the jury that Rayne Perrywinkle made bad decisions, gets in the van.

They said that they would be cross-examined by Rayne, but after the mother’s testimony, Smith told his lawyers not to cross examine her, so they told the court they had changed their mind.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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