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Could Cherish Perrywinkle have been saved?

4:44 PM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Could something have been done to save Cherish Perrywinkle if the media had been told sooner?

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced disciplinary action was taken against six people in the department, for the mishandling of the 8-year-old's case. Concerned parents say the limited media access now could affect us all.

At 11:18 p.m. June 21, 2013, Rayne Perrywinkle called 911 saying her daughter was taken from the Walmart on Lem Turner Road.

"As soon as I called 911, that operator should have done her job," said Rayne Perrywinkle.

"The information she received in that call should have been dispatched as an abduction," said Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt. "It was dispatched as a missing person."

More than an hour after Perrywinkle called for help, at 12:27 a.m. June 22, 2013, local media got an alert from JSO advising of a homicide callout. 

"It is disheartening and a little scary to know that these things happen and we don't find out about them until much later," said Heather Mauney.

The mother of one said she wonders if the media got a hold of the situation sooner and were able to put out a description to the public, could Cherish have been found alive? Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said that's unlikely.

RELATED: Remembering Cherish Perrywinkle

"Unfortunately you don't get to save a lot of those victims," said Senterfitt. "I don't think it would have changed the outcome. But they should have done everything they could."

By the end of August 2011, all local media outlets were required to return emergency scanners to JSO, as a way to cut costs and prevent media from interfering at early crime scenes. Media now rely on JSO's Emergency Alert Radio System for information. Officers release what they deem to be major events.

"I do feel that the media has a right to know as things occur because they are what we as citizens rely on to get information," said Mauney.

By 9:20 a.m. June 22, 2013, Cherish's body was found by a K-9 team near Highlands Baptist Church.

First Coast News

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