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Younger sisters of slain Fla. girl taken from mom

Cherish Perrywinkle
Posted at 6:57 AM, Jul 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-11 04:36:04-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The two younger sisters of an 8-year-old Jacksonville girl who was abducted and slain have been removed from their mother's care.

Department of Children and Families spokesman John Harrell told The Florida Times-Union on Wednesday that the girls' safety — not punishing the parent — is the agency's priority.

Cherish Perrywinkle was found dead the day after she was abducted from a Jacksonville Walmart on June 21. The child, her mother and sisters went to the store with a man who had offered to buy clothing for them. Police arrested 56-year-old Donald James Smith on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery.

A judge gave Rayne Perrywinkle primary custody of Cherish in 2010 during a dispute with the child's father Billy Jarreau.