26 June 2013

The $100 Wal-Mart Gift Card Unto Death

Various Jacksonville, Florida news sources, 25 June 2013: They walked through the store Friday night after a promise of late-night fast food. A pretty little girl in a bright sundress, perfect for an 8-year-old who loved the color pink and playing with dolls. And a 56-year-old Jacksonville man who had been out of jail for just three weeks, a sexual offender with a history of horrendous crimes against children. The two walked out the door at 11 p.m. into the dark of night, beginning what became a desperate search to find them. They were both found within the next 11 hours.

Donald James Smith, his dirty clothes soaked with water, was arrested after his widely sought white van was cornered on Interstate 95. Cherish Perrywinkle was found near a creek off Broward Road, leaving her 4- and 5-year-old siblings without their big sister. A tragic ending that began, police say, when Smith befriended Cherish’s mother and offered to buy the family clothes and food. 

Rayne Perrywinkle says Donald Smith approached her around 7 pm inside the Dollar General on Edgewood Avenue, after he overheard her telling her daughter that she couldn't afford a dress the girl was asking for. "He saw me putting things back because I couldn't afford them, and he offered to help me pay for some other items with a Walmart gift card that his wife had. We waited in that parking lot for a long time for her to come to the store, but then he said she [his wife] wanted him to meet her at the Walmart."

Perrywinkle told Action News she thought Smith was "creepy and annoying," but eventually seemed genuine in his offer to help. "Part of me wanted to believe this was a blessing for my children, and that's what I kept telling myself, but when we got in the car I felt very tense and was sitting straight up." Perrywinkle says she felt uneasy as soon as she got into Smith's van. Perrywinkle says Smith continued to follow her every move inside the Walmart and insisted his wife was on her way.  As they waited for his "wife" to arrive, he yelled "from across the way" and said he was going to McDonald's for a burger. "He asked if I wanted anything and I heard Cherish say 'cheeseburger.' I thought she stayed near me. I didn't realize she went with him. I didn't let her go with him like people think. He was creepy, so I wouldn't have let her go, I just didn't realize she was gone."

Based on Smith’s history of crimes against children, it was a worst-case scenario for Cherish. Smith’s long record included impersonating a child welfare investigator and making threatening calls to a 9-year-old girl; attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl into his van and chasing her as she ran away; and trying to lure two girls into his van with pornographic magazines, according to Times-Union archives. Court records show Smith’s criminal history dates back at least to 1977, when he was arrested on a charge of lewd assault on a child. He would be in and out of trouble with authorities the next couple of decades. In 2010, prosecutors filed paperwork to declare Smith a “habitual felony offender.” But that charge and others were dropped in 2012 when Smith pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to the impersonation charge. He had only been out of jail since May 31. Ironically, police had just talked to Smith on Friday morning while doing a routine address verification for the sexual offender.

Cherish was supposed to be flying to see her father Saturday morning. Perrywinkle had wanted to buy her daughter a new dress “so she could feel beautiful.” Then this man came and said he and his wife could help. Perrywinkle chose to trust him, and that was an easy trap to fall into. “She was trying to make sure her child was presentable, her child looked good to see her daddy,” victim advocate Ann Dugger said. “You don’t have the money. You don’t have the wherewithal, and somebody comes up and offers to help.”

A custody evaluation report from 2010 recommended Cherish's father Billy Jarreau take custody of the child, but a judge's decision ultimately overruled that recommendation. The June 2010 report features interviews with both Jarreau and Cherish's mother, Rayne Perrywinkle. The report says the two shared a romantic encounter while Perrywinkle was a dancer. The relationship resulted in a pregnancy. The custody evaluator, Robert Wood, noted that Perrywinkle's home was in poor condition and had no air conditioning. Contacted yesterday, Wood said he remembered Cherish. "It was a difficult case because the father had not been around for the first few years of the child's life and whenever you're talking about doing a change of custody you know, it's something that would give anybody pause for thought." Perrywinkle's father Billy Jarreau tried to gain custody of her in 2007 and again in 2009. He took Cherish on vacations, but never got to spend nearly as much time with her as her mother Rayne Perrywinkle. However, Wood's observations led him to recommend that Jarreau gain custody. "Just some of the things I saw, the living circumstance, where she lived, how she lived, the house and things like that, that concerned me," said Wood. Wood said Cherish was very close to her mother, but in the report he said "I fear for the child's future living with Ms. Perrywinkle." A judge still ruled in favor of Rayne Perrywinkle.

Our Lord Jesus Christ observed:

Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good. . .

The poor.  The lives of the poor in AmerICKa are becoming more and more squalid.  The above story is littered with the trash of the new AmerICKan poverty.  Dollar Stores, Wal-Marts, hamburgers, strip club conceptions, birth defected families watched over by hopelessly ineffective government agencies.

One hundred, two hundred years ago, the poor could earn money as ragpickers.  These poor, who we always have with us, could roam the streets and alleys, fishing through the garbage for scraps of cloth and paper they could sell to manufacturers.  Even the skinnd carcasses of stray cats and dogs could be sold off to clothiers.  Today the ragpicker is not some grimy poor soul scratching out a living, but a shiny soulless corporation called Dollar Store.

In the new AmerICKan economy, the Dollar Stores are one of the few retail successes.  One of the great chains of Dollar Stores is cynically named Family Dollar.  These corporate scavengers offer the unemployed 8000 square feet of garbage that ought to be in the gutters for the poor to rummage through.  Instead, the corporate ragpickers wrap their trash in plastic, hire a few cashiers and stockers at non-living wages, and squeeze the last few pennies from the poor on ridiculously marked-up remainders.  The crap sold in these Dollar Stores are fake bargains: out-of-date holiday candy and dead inventory of Asian over-produced bric-a-brac.  The poor walk though the doors with copper they could save for their children's future, but instead choose to *shop* in a pitiful imitation of their betters. . .they walk out the doors with nothing to give their children, except jumbo bags of cheese fries, flimsy t-shirts with dumb slogans, and ugly wall clocks to mark the passing of unredeemed time.

We are told a woman named Rayne Perrywinkle took her three daughters to a Dollar Store at 7 pm on a Friday night, and they then spent the next four hours hoping for a bargain too good to be true in the Dollar Store and a Wal-Mart (which is just a glorified dollar sore, and the worst corporate ragpicker in AmerICKan history, one of the great contributers to the decline of the AmerICKan workers' standard of living).  In their four hour odyssey through the scraps of AmerICKan retail, the poor Perrywinkle clan had the misfortune to cross paths with a wolf in sheep's clothing, a confirmed pedophile with the common and harmless-sounding name Donald Smith.  

Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good. . .

When our Lord made this remark, He was receiving a valuable gift, and those around Him, in spirits of envy and covetous, grumbled the gift could be sold, and the money given to the poor.  Jesus, knowing their hearts, that they cared little for the poor, mocked them, reminding them the poor would always be available for their good deeds.  In the gospel of John, one grumbler is identified as Judas, and we are told as keeper of the bag, he wanted to steal the money which the gift could have been sold for.  In Matthew and Mark, it is implied this incident was the *last straw* for Judas, and that he then went to the chief priests to betray our Lord.

If only Rayne Perrywinkle knew the wisdom of Christ. . .that few truly care for the poor, and that most offers of help are false, and given in a spirit of wickedness. . .

But Mother Perrywinkle could not accept the fate of the poor, and so she dragged her four-year-old, her five-year-old and her eight-year-old through a four hour wait for a $100 Wal-Mart shopping spree, which she mistakenly thought would be a *blessing.* 

The night grew late. . .her children grew hungry and tired. . .but Mother Perrywinkle clung to the vision of the *blessing:* a $100 Wal-Mart gift card. . .

We are told Mother Perrywinkle thought Donald Smith was *creepy and annoying.* She is quoted as saying:

Part of me wanted to believe this was a blessing for my children, and that's what I kept telling myself, but when we got in the car I felt very tense and was sitting straight up.

One can only assume, with much regret, Mother Perrywinkle's career as a *dancer* gave her confidence in her ability to deal with creeps for the chance at a hundred dollars. . .

I have no idea what Mother Perriwinkle could have been thinking. . .

By this I mean: how did she reason that a $100 Wal-Mart gift card was worth the risk of exposing her three children to the company of a creep?

Is she so confirmed in the materialism of the age, she, like so many, believes life isn't really worth living without the Wal-Mart trinkets?  

Did she calculate:  our lives suck, this man is a creep and makes me uncomfortable, but, perchance a $100 Wal-Mart gift card is in reach?  The risk must have seemed less than the reward.  And that is what I cannot understand.  Her life and her children's lives would have still sucked (materially) even with that hundred bucks of Wal-Mart junk. . .

Is the strain of the new AmerICKan poverty that great?  That even a hundred dollars can seem like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?   

We are told Mother Perrywinkle wanted a new dress for eight-year-old Cherish, as Cherish was about to be shipped off to her father, and we are told Mother Perrywinkle, engaged in a bitter custody battle, wanted her daughter to look well-cared-for.  Whatever the case, Donald Smith's lure of a $100 Wal-Mart gift card was too tempting to pass up.  Mother Perrywinkle bit, and as a result, eight-year-old Cherish was raped and murdered.  

Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good. . .

I cannot imagine how painful it will be for Mother Perrywinkle to face this awful truth. . .night after night, the $100 Wal-Mart gift card materializing before her eyes. . .then fading. . .fading away. . .replaced by the creep and Cherish on the creek bed. . .night after night.  

For the sake of her other two children, one can only pray God grant Mother Perrywinkle repentance. . . 


  1. "Jacksonville...all the charm of a small town with the murder rate of a larger city."

    ---heard on the radio in Jacksonville.

  2. All I know about Jacksonville is their old football coach used to wear a leather jacket on the sidelines. . .from that rather small sample, I deduced Jacksonville was a fine white trash city. . .and nothing I have read about the Perrywinkle tragedy causes me to change my opinion.

  3. A bit late, but just dropping in to wish y'all a happy 2014. Message in a bottle, as it is.


  4. Thank you, sir. As for the new year, as Rimbaud said, it can only be the end of the world, ahead.