It’s something that Dr. Oz said has never been asked of him before on his show, but the mother of slain child, Cherish Perrywinkle, in an effort to clear her name, requested a polygraph and drug test while appearing as a guest on Oz’s show. Whether she passed or not remains to be seen on Dr. Oz’s “True Crime Tuesday” episode, airing today.
In 2013, a convicted pedophile, Donald Smith, abducted 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle from a Jacksonville, Florida, Walmart store after the child’s mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, accepted a ride from him and took him up on an offer that she couldn’t resist at the time. Smith, who spotted Rayne, Cherish, and her two other children at a Dollar General store, noticed that the struggling single mom put back a dress one of her daughters wanted.
Smith approached Rayne as she left Dollar General and presented himself as a “Christian grandfather.” He told Rayne that he’d like to help her buy her kids some clothes.
Smith explained his wife was meeting him at Walmart and that she would help Rayne pick out clothing for the children with a Walmart gift card. Against her better judgment, Rayne agreed after Smith convinced her he was harmless and Good Samaritan who only wanted to help. It was a mistake that would change Rayne’s life and the lives of her family forever.
After arriving at the Walmart, Cherish walked with Smith to the McDonald’s located inside the store to get dinner for everyone. Rayne, figured with security cameras and employees around, that Cherish would be safe, and allowed her daughter to go pick up food with Smith. Rayne later said it was the worst mistake she’s ever made.
Smith left the store with Cherish. Surveillance footage showed that the little girl went willingly, likely thinking Smith wouldn’t harm her. Cherish’s lifeless body was found the following day in a shallow, watery ditch not far from the Walmart. She’d been brutally raped and murdered.
It took the police hours to send out an AMBER Alert to media, and the 911 dispatcher failed to relay to the officers that urgency of the situation, despite Rayne’s frantic 911 call in which she told the operator her child had been abducted by a man they just met. Rayne also gave the description of the vehicle Smith was driving and explained how her daughter was likely in danger.
Regardless, much of the public, shocked by the crime, blamed Rayne. Some accused her of selling her child for drugs, while others claimed she purposely allowed Cherish to be taken to lessen the burden of taking care of three children. Others thought she was on drugs at the time of kidnapping, which altered her decision-making skills. Five years after the crime, Rayne continues to receive “hate mail” from strangers.
In an attempt to prove the rumors false, Rayne asked Oz to give her a drug test and lie detector test. CrimeOnline‘s Nancy Grace, who has been covering the case since the tragedy occurred, joins Rayne on the show to offer support and provide her legal expertise.
“He [Donald Smith] was covered in scratches. That little bitty frail girl tried to live,” Grace told Oz. “She was found partially clothed in her little orange dress, half naked, her body jammed down in a little bit of water, hidden up under a tree. I mean, everything went wrong, and I’m tired of people blaming the mom.”
Join Dr. Oz for “True Crime Tuesday” today, where he’ll reveal the results of Rayne’s tests. Check your local listings for air times.
[Feature Photo: Cherish Perrywinkle/Family Handout]