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.