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Struggling through tears, the mother of an 8-year-old who was abducted from a Florida Walmart and later raped and killed said the man accused of the crime had convinced her he was a good Samaritan who was trying to help her family out.

Rayne Perrywinkle, the mother, sat facing 61-year-old defendant Donald Smith in a Jacksonville courtroom, and testified about the day her daughter, Cherish Perrywinkle, disappeared. The suspect Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and rape.

So how did this tragedy happen? Rayne Perrywinkle said she was shopping for her three daughters but later realized she couldn’t afford them all and was attempting to work out a way to pay for it all. Once she left out the store Donald Smith has been waiting.

Smith offered to take them to a nearby Walmart 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. “He looked into my face and told me I was safe,” Rayne Perrywinkle said.

She said Cherish’s mutilated body would later be found in a creek. She’d been raped, smothered and had blunt force trauma to the back of her head. She was wearing an orange dress with a fruit pattern on it. When Smith was arrested, Nelson said he was wet from the waist down.

If convicted, Donald Smith faces a possible death sentence.

Tearful Mother Testifies About 8-Year-Old’s Abduction, Rape and Murder From Walmart was originally published on wzakcleveland.com

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