Children grieve murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle - FOX 35 News Orlando

Children grieve murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle

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Dozens gathered at a Jacksonville church on Monday to mourn the death of a girl whom police say was kidnapped and killed by a registered sex offender.

Most of the hundred or so balloons and teddy bears brought to 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle's sidewalk memorial were delivered by children.

"I took a Tweety-bird to her," said Madison, 10, from Jacksonville.

Madison, who was brought to the memorial by her mother, placed a stuffed animal at the site as she listened to her mother's words of comfort.

"She told me that Cherish is very sad, but she's in a good place," she said softly. "And that Cherish didn't even know what the man was doing to her."

On Friday night, police said 56-year-old Donald Smith approached Rayne Perrywinkle, Cherish's mother, at a Dollar General store offering a free, $100 shopping trip to Walmart.  Although Smith was a complete stranger to the mother, police said the mother went along and brought her three children. 

But after a half-hour in the store, police said surveillance video captured Smith walking Cherish out of the store to his van. She was later found murdered, behind the Jacksonville Highland Baptist church on Broward Road.

"I know that there's bad people in the world, but I didn't really think that someone could be this heartless to do something to a little girl like cherish," said Marshall, 10, also from Jacksonville. His grandmother brought him to see the memorial and the place where the little girl's body was discovered. "I never got to meet her, but I would have liked to if I could."

Many of the children read the handwritten cards that were attached to stuffed animals and balloons.

"I think it's just a beautiful way to show love, and that they actually cared about this girl they didn't know."

The murder suspect will be back in court on July 17 for charges of kidnapping and murder.

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