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Safety expert offers insight into habits of sexual offenders

4:22 PM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Saftey Tips from the offenders themselves

Video: In the mind of a child predator

  • Donald Smith, 56, is accused of abducting Perrywinkle from a Walmart in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- More insight is surfacing about the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Cherish Perrywinkle, 8, last week.

Doug Sebastian, the founder of Kindervision, a national child safety protection and education network, said Donald Smith, 56, likely perfected his pattern of behavior over time.

"I had no idea. I had no idea," said Sarah Reninger, one of Smith's neighbors.

People who lived by Smith described him as a smooth talker and someone who had an answer for everything.

David Gathers, who cuts grass in the neighborhood, said, "We'd never suspect nothing like that with him, you know, by seeing him like that."

Smith even fooled the boyfriend of Perrywinkle's mother, who said the man came off as family oriented.

"He came off as a family man. The main thing, the way he manipulated Rayne, was telling her that his wife was coming with their children with a gift certificate they didn't need anymore," Aharon Pearson said.

It is a pattern of behavior that, according to Sebastian, fits the profile of a lot of habitual offenders.

He said they are usually intelligent and careful planners who often target people who appear desperate.

"They like to come off as the good samaritan," Sebastian said.

Smith's criminal record dates back three decades and includes lots of offenses involving minors.

After being released from jail on May 31 of this year, he is now back behind bars charged with kidnapping and murder for Perrywinkle's death.

Smith allegedly lured Perrywinkle away from her mother at a Wal-Mart on Lem Turner Road late Friday night.

Perrywinkle's body was later found on the north side. The cause of death has not been released yet.

Sebastian has spent more than 20 years interviewing sexual offenders and predators behind bars.

His goal is to learn how they operate so families can be better protected.

Sebastian joined First Coast News' Jacob Long live on Good Morning Jacksonville Wednesday to talk more about what his interviews have uncovered and to offer safety tips from the offenders themselves.

All of that information can be found here. There is also a free mobile app families can download to test their knowledge about sexual offender safety.

First Coast News

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