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Custody evaluator who worked Cherish Perrywinkle's case speaks out

5:30 PM, Jun 25, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: The life of Cherish Perrywinkle

Video: Custody evaluator speaks out

Cherish Perrywinkle

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three years ago, attorney Robert Wood completed a custody evaluation for Cherish Perrywinkle. This week, he is shocked to learn the same little girl he met was murdered.

"I do remember this little girl from three years ago when I did the evaluation and she was a really, really, cute little girl, very nice girl, nice to her sister, real sweet kid," said Wood.

RELATED: JSO releases timeline of Cherish Perrywinkle murder

Wood was appointed to Perrywinkle's case and says it was one of the most difficult custody cases he's ever evaluated. 

"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," added Wood. 

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.

RELATED: Funeral arrangements made for Cherish

"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 quote "I fear for the child's future living with Ms. Perrywinkle." A judge still ruled in favor of Rayne Perrywinkle. The case is one of about a hundred Wood has evaluated and he said the court usually goes with the evaluator's recommendation.  

"I had my opinion of what should happen in this case, but I can also understand why a judge could rule differently," said Wood.

RELATED: Cherish's father fought for custody for 6 years

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