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Weekend Express with Lynn Berry

Fast-paced look at the day's essential news and buzz-worthy stories

8-year-old girl found dead; sex offender in custody

NEED TO KNOW
  • Charish Lilly Perriwinkle was reported missing Friday night
  • Her body was found Saturday morning near a Jacksonville church
  • Registered sex offender Donald James Smith faces kidnapping and murder charges

Jacksonville, Florida, police found the body of a missing 8-year-old girl on Saturday, a day after she was abducted from a Walmart.

Authorities say Charish Lilly Perriwinkle and her mother met Donald James Smith, a registered sex offender, at a store on Friday, where he offered to take them to Walmart to buy clothes.

While at Walmart, Smith offered to take the girl to get food but instead they left in his van, according to police. The girl's mother notified authorities that her daughter was missing and an Amber Alert was issued. 

Police stopped Smith on Saturday and detained him without incident. Authorities said they followed a lead that led them to Perriwinkle's body near a church.

Smith, 56, was taken into custody and held without bond Saturday night. He faces kidnapping and murder charges.

According to records from the Duval County Clerk of Courts, Smith's most recent conviction occurred last year on charges from 2009 for unlawful impersonation of a public employee and aggravated child abuse by willful torture. He was sentenced to a year in county jail.  He was just released on May 31.

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